UPDATE at 7:15 p.m.: Earlier today, a helicopter working on the Polles Fire on the Tonto National Forest crashed. We can currently confirm one fatality, which was the pilot. This individual was the only person on the aircraft. The tragic incident is currently under investigation and additional information will be released as it becomes available. A press conference is being held at 7:30 pm. It will be live streamed to the Tonto National Forest Facebook page.

UPDATE:  — The helicopter that crashed in the Polles Fire burn area reportedly had no one on board but the pilot. Crews are assessing if the pilot is alive. The helicopter is reportedly on fire, according to Sgt. Dennis Newman with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office. As we get more information, we will post it, but officials are not releasing any information on the accident at this time. 

GILA COUNTY — A helicopter working on the Polles Fire reportedly crashed in the forest Tuesday afternoon.

The helicopter, which reportedly only had a pilot on board, crashed north of the burn area around 12:20 p.m., said Sgt. Dennis Newman with the Gila County Sheriff's Office.

Newman said it was unknown if the pilot had survived.

The helicopter was reportedly on fire, according to early reports.

When dispatchers initially toned out that a helicopter had crashed there was confusion on where the accident had occurred. Payson fire, police and paramedics converged on the airport only to find the crash was in the forest.

Fire Chief David Staub said they were standing by to provide medical, but the incident was being handled by the Forest Service. The Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter was reportedly responding.

The Roundup reached out to the Polles Fire public information officer, but they no information on the incident as of 1 p.m.

Resources on the 580 acre Polles Fire include approximately 360 personnel, including nine crews, 14 engines, three dozers, two masticators and five helicopters, according to a fire update posted July 7.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.