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Helicopter helping fight wildfires broken into

Posted: September 11, 2012 2:30 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2012 2:30 p.m.

UKIAH, Calif. (AP) — Ukiah police are investigating the theft of a satellite phone and GPS device from an Army National Guard helicopter that had been helping fight the Scotts Fire in Lake County.

The Chinook helicopter was broken into while parked at the Ukiah Municipal Airport on Sunday. It had been grounded to repair a broken engine mount, but was recently used to drop water on the Scotts Fire.

Fire officials say more than 1,600 firefighters are battling the blaze that started Friday and threatening about 300 homes and 40 other structures. It has burned more than 7 square miles and is currently 50 percent contained.

Army National Guard Col. Lou Carmona says the Chinook's door was damaged during the break in, and mechanics will have to ensure nothing else was taken or vandalized before it can be flown again.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.




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