13 firefighters killed in this year’s blazes

13 firefighters killed in this year’s blazes

7 August 2008

published by www.redding.com

USA — The presumed deaths of nine fire personnel in a fiery Tuesday night helicopter crash have increased to 13 the number of those who’ve died in Northern California battling blazes started in late June by a massive lightning storm.

But the tragedy of losing so many firefighters in so short a time is far from the largest loss of firefighters’ lives in any single wildfire.

One of the largest losses of wildland firefighters was in the Big Burn of 1910.

The blaze killed at least 78 firefighters and burned millions of acres in northern Idaho and western Montana, according to a 2007 report by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

Other fires in which large numbers of firefighters died, according to the report, were the following:

• In 1949, 13 firefighters died during a sudden burnover in Montana’s Mann Gulch.

• In 1953, 15 firefighters were killed in a burnover, fighting the Rattlesnake Fire in the Mendocino National Forest.

• In 1956, 11 firefighters were killed in the Inaja Fire in Southern California.

• In 1994, 14 firefighters were overcome by wildfire near Glenwood Springs, Colo.

• In 2003, eight Oregon firefighters died in a car crash while returning from a fire in Idaho, The Associated Press reported.

The nine still-unidentified firefighters presumed dead in Tuesday’s crash joined a list of other firefighters who have died battling blazes in the north state.

They include the following:

• Daniel Bruce Packer, 49, a seasoned fire chief from Lake Tapps, Wash., who was killed July 26 in Siskiyou County near Happy Camp when a fire burned over him during a scouting mission.

• Andrew Jackson Palmer, 18, a rookie firefighter from Port Townsend, Wash., who was killed July 25 by a falling tree.

• John Hermo, 33, an off-duty firefighter from Klamath Falls, Ore., who drowned in early July swimming across the Trinity River at Willow Creek near the Trinity and Humboldt county line.

• Robert Roland, 63, a volunteer firefighter recruit with the Anderson Valley Fire Department near Napa, who died from a heart attack battling a blaze in Mendocino County, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The single largest mass of firefighter deaths in recent memory was on Sept. 11, 2001, when 340 died in the World Trade Center attack.

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