The families of three crew members killed in Monday´s tanker crash in Walker, California say they knew the risks of their jobs and loved every minute of it. Forty-two year old Steve Wass of Gardnerville was piloting the C-130A when the firefighting plane went down Monday afternoon. Jeff Wass says after every fire season, his brother used to joke that he managed to cheat death once again. This time he wasn´t so lucky. National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived on the scene yesterday to try to determine what caused the wings of the four-engine plane to snap off as it completed an air drop. Also killed was 36-year-old co-pilot Craig LaBare of Loomis California, and 59-year-old Michael Davis, the flight engineer. LaBare´s widow says the three veteran crew members were happy to be working together again as a team. Laura LaBare says her husband loved fighting fires and worked on ground crews, including the elite Silver State Hot Shots, before learning to fly. Davis was an Air Force veteran. His wife, Carol, says he was a devout churchgoer who conducted services for prison inmates in Bakersfield.
Fire officials say it could be the end of next week before the Cannon fire is fully contained. The 15-thousand-acre fire is 15 percent contained this morning, and about 800 firefighters are on the lines. The threat to homes in the Walker area has eased, and residents were allowed back last night. The eastern flank of the fire has pushed into Nevada and is burning in the Sweetwater Range west of Wellington, prime habitat for mule deer. There is no immediate danger to homes or structures.