Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock () or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Daniel Joseph Laird


Captain Laird was a passenger in an Airbus AS350B3 helicopter that was engaged in Plastic Sphere Dispenser (PSD) application in support of controlled fire operations in an area of the Sam Houston National Forest near Montgomery, Texas.  The helicopter was owned by Mountain Air Helicopters, Inc and operated by the United States Forest Service (USFS) as a public use helicopter.

Initial information provided to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) by the pilot and surviving crew member report that after completing the application, the helicopter began flying back to the helicopter's staging area when the engine lost complete power. The helicopter descended into trees and subsequently impacted terrain, coming to rest on its right side. One crew member and the pilot were able to exit the helicopter, however Captain Laird was partially ejected from the helicopter and sustained fatal injuries.

For additional information on this crash as it becomes available, please refer to the NTSB Aviation Accident Database and refer in incident number CEN19FA109 (

photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Daniel Joseph Laird was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

United States Forest Service - Tahoe National Forest
631 Coyote Street
Nevada City, California 95959

Chief: Forest Supervisor Eli Ilano

Age: 41
Rank: Captain
Classification: Wildland Full-Time
Incident date: March 27, 2019 14:35
Date of death: March 27, 2019
Cause of death: Vehicle Collision - Includes Aircraft
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Other
Emergency duty: No
Duty type: Other On-Duty
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property

Last updated: July 08, 2020