The Latest: Tire failure may have caused firefighter crash


NEDERLAND, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires burning in the Western U.S. (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

The Nevada Highway Patrol says tire failure may have caused the crash that killed two federal firefighters and injured a third on a remote highway.

Trooper Jim Stewart says the three firefighters were the only ones in the vehicle when it crashed Sunday, near the junction of State Highway 140 and U.S. 95. They were returning from looking for lightning-sparked wildfires.

The driver was among the two deaths. The injured firefighter was flown by helicopter to a Reno hospital, where he’s in stable condition.

Their names weren’t immediately released.

Stewart says the Highway Patrol and local agencies planned Monday to escort the bodies of the two fallen firefighters on the 165-mile trip to Reno.

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12:10 p.m.

Officials say a crash that killed two federal firefighters and injured a third involved a firefighting truck that rolled over on a remote Nevada highway.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Stephen Clutter on Monday corrected the location of Sunday’s crash to U.S. 95. He says the firefighters were returning from looking for lightning-sparked wildfires near a town on the Oregon state line.

Their names and other details of the crash weren’t immediately released.

Clutter says the injured firefighter was in stable condition after being flown by helicopter to a Reno hospital.

BLM spokesman Rudy Evenson says an agency crash investigation team is on the way to the area.

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10:55 a.m.

Officials have spotted an unauthorized drone over a southern Utah wildfire for the fifth time since it ignited nearly a month ago.

Fire spokeswoman Megan Saylors says the unmanned aircraft was seen Sunday night above the blaze about 300 miles south of Salt Lake City. She says no firefighting aircraft were in the air at the time.

Firefighters previously had to ground their aircraft to avoid collisions when drones were spotted over the fire Friday night and other times in recent weeks. It’s unclear if it was the same drone in all five instances.

The 3.6-square-mile fire has been burning on a ridge above the town of Pine Valley.

Saylors says a voluntary evacuation is in place for a small part of the town, but officials are reopening campgrounds in the nearby Pine Valley Recreation Area on Monday.

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10:30 a.m.

Authorities say a vehicle carrying federal firefighters returning from a patrol for lightning-sparked wildfires crashed, killing two of them and injuring another on a remote northern Nevada highway.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Stephen Clutter said Monday that the crash happened around 5 p.m. Sunday on State Route 140 near the Oregon state line while the three were headed back from duty.

Their names and other details of the crash weren’t immediately made public.

Clutter says the injured firefighter was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Reno.

A BLM statement mourns the deaths and injury and says the agency’s thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters’ families.

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9:50 a.m.

Two men accused of igniting a Colorado wildfire that has forced the evacuation of 2,000 people talked to a reporter about the blaze before they were arrested.

Authorities say 28-year-old Jimmy Andrew Suggs and 26-year-old Zackary Ryan Kuykendall from Vinemont, Alabama, didn’t properly extinguish a campfire, causing flames to flare up and spread in hot, windy weather Saturday. They were arrested Sunday at an evacuation shelter.

The pair and a woman camping with them told the Daily Camera newspaper of Boulder (http://tinyurl.com/j85uft9) that they saw the fire soon after it started. Suggs says they had “never seen anything like it.”

The fire has burned about a square mile in the foothills roughly 20 miles west of Boulder and has destroyed three homes. Gusty winds threaten to fan the flames Monday.

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