A firefighting helicopter crashed in Southern California Sunday while fighting a blaze in Riverside County, emergency officials said.

The helicopter was performing work under contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, fire captain and spokesman Richard Cordova said.

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Burned area near site of crash of firefighting helicopter in Riverside County, Calif. on August 6, 2023. The scorched earth may be from the crash or the fire, authorities said.

CBS New Los Angeles


Sheriff’s deputies responded at 7:20 p.m. to an air emergency as crews were battling the Broadway fire near Cabazon, according to a post by the Riverside County Sheriff’s office on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The department is still investigating the crash and whether other aircraft were involved, Cordova said.

CBS News Los Angeles says a “fiery mid-air collision” occurred.

The station says the incident took place on Native American land, where firefighters were fighting a 20-acre fire, adding that it was unclear whether a burn area near the crash site was from the ongoing fire or from the impact of the collision.

Details weren’t immediately available on the number of injuries or fatalities.