updated 4/25/2009 11:24:09 PM ET 2009-04-26T03:24:09

Officials say three crew members of a private firefighting company on their way to battle a New Mexico wildfire were killed when their plane crashed in heavy fog in Utah.

Police say the converted military plane was en route from Montana when it failed to clear a mountain pass by an eighth of a mile.

A U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman in New Mexico says "The fire aviation community lost good people and a valuable resource today."

The 19,000-acre blaze in New Mexico is 20 percent contained. It threatens a home, several outbuildings and a power distribution line.

Police say investigators for the Federal Aviation Administration are at the crash site and officials for the National Traffic Safety Board plan to arrive tomorrow.

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