Pilot Dead After Airtanker Crash Near Yosemite National Park

A pilot died after the airtanker they were flying crashed near Yosemite National Park Tuesday.

"This crash underscores just how inherently dangerous wildland firefighting is and the job is further compounded this year by extreme fire conditions,” CAL FIRE director Chief Ken Pimlott said in a statement. “We have secured the crash site and will be cooperating with the NTSB on their investigation.”

The pilot's name has not been released, pending family notification.

It took search crews hours to reach the plane, due to the rugged terrain.

The Cal Fire airtanker was a Grumman S2T, which can hold 1,100 gallons of fire retardant, a spokesman said.

Authorities believe the pilot was the only one on the plane when it went missing.

Cal Fire said that as a part of routine procedure and precaution all its airtankers are now grounded pending a review of what happened.

A vegetation fire near Foresta in Yosemite National Park prompted the evacuation of 60 homes, ABC affiliate KFSN reported. The fire, which closed Highway 140 into Yosemite, has burned some 130 acres between Yosemite View Lodge and the Yosemite Arch Rock Entrance, below the town of Foresta.