MapsReportsWLF LinksMedia ArticlesMultimediaComments

 

Incident Name:  a lightning-caused fire near Weott CA
Date:  10/7/87, about 1055 hrs
Personnel:  Donn Johnson of Carlotta, CA
Age: 50
Agency/Organization:  under contract with CDF (now CAL FIRE)
Position: pilot

Summary: On 10-7-87, CDF pilot Donn Johnson in Tanker 79, a twin-engine Grumman S2, was working a series of 15 small lightning-strike fires near Weott in Humboldt County. He was headed back to Rohnerville base just south of Fortuna to pick up another load of retardant when he sent out a Mayday. No one saw the plane go down. Donn's death brought to 11 the number of firefighters killed in CA during the 1987 fire siege.

Horizontal line

Maps

near the town of Weott, CA

Return to top

Horizontal line

Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from NTSB, FAA, AAP, WLF Staff research:
    • October 7, 1987, Tanker 79
    • 1 killed: Donn Johnson
    • CDF (now CAL FIRE)
    • Type: Grumman TS-2A
    • Suspected stalled making a climbing turn after a drop. Loss of Control in Flight; LOCIF.
    • FAA Registration #N444DF
    • NTSB # none; not in the NTSB online lookup Utility Use FAA Identification: N444DF
  • NWCG Safetygram for 1987 (single page excerpt)
  • USFA Memorial Database: Donn Johnson
  • Note: Prior to 1996 NTSB did not investigate Gov owned and operated, Gov owned and contractor operated or some aircraft that were privately owned and operated as "public aircraft". Government agency investigations and reports were/are often hard to find and access. The "Pressler Act", passed in 1995 and enacted in 1996, changed that, making all aircraft accident reports easier to access and lessons easier to learn. (Click the link and search on "Pressler".)

Return to top
Horizontal line

Wildlandfire.com Links:

  • Hotlist research: Facilities Bill has some 1987 records.

 

Return to top

Horizontal line

Media Articles and Reports

Donn Johnson Donn Johnson
Donn Johnson Donn Johnson

Return to top

Horizontal line

Photos, Videos, & Tributes

 

 

Return to top

Contributors to this article: facilities bill, Mellie, Donn Johnson's wife

WFF Boots & Wreath logo. Please support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation