My first time on this forum, being a fixed wing guy but I had not thought of this happening before. Perhaps the subject has been covered before but if not...then a good read.
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While I have not read that particular report, it does point out a rather significant issue for us flying here in Canada on the forest fire front.
In applications like drip torching or water bucketing, we are often in very close proximity to less than burnable air... It's something I consider carefully whenever flying these operations.
The pilot in that situation seemed to pull off a very good Auto, but his decision to fly back to base is rather suspect - particularly with passengers aboard. Not a good situation at all.