PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset Tuesday, July 13, 2021, to honor two wildland firefighting aircraft personnel who died Saturday in an airplane crash.
Air Tactical Group Supervisor Jeff Piechura and pilot Matthew Miller tragically died as they engaged in wildland firefighting operations on the Cedar Basin Fire in northwest Arizona.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jeff Piechura and Matthew Miller, who were carrying out their mission on the Cedar Basin Fire in service of the people of Arizona,” said Governor Ducey. “My deepest condolences go to the Piechura and Miller families, their loved ones and colleagues. The memory of these brave, selfless firefighters will live on. Our prayers are with them and all of Arizona’s wildland firefighters serving in the face of danger to keep their fellow Arizonans safe.”
Piechura and Miller were conducting visual reconnaissance and aviation command and control for the Cedar Basin Fire at the time of the crash.
A resident of the Tucson area, Piechura was the former chief of the Northwest Fire District, where he served for 24 years. Following that, Piechura served with fire departments in Stockton, California and Sedona, Arizona. Piechura was 62 years old. He is survived by his wife and 5 children.
Miller worked as a pilot for Falcon Executive Aviation, a U.S. Forest Service contractor. He was 48.
“In honor of Jeff and Matthew’s service, I have ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff,” Governor Ducey said.