Services held in Fla. for rangers killed fighting wildfire

Services held in Fla. for rangers killed fighting wildfire

27 June 2011

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USA — Firefighters across Florida were among more than 1,000 mourners attending funerals for two forest rangers killed while fighting a wildfire in north Florida.

Josh Burch and Brett Fulton died last Monday in Hamilton County. They were using bulldozers to contain a 12-acre blaze that suddenly flared up.

Two Florida Division of Forestry helicopters flew overhead during the services held Friday and Saturday in Lake City. It was the first time since 2000 that a forestry division employee has died fighting a wildfire.

Many public-service workers had a black ribbon pinned to their shirts. American flags decorated both funerals, some hanging off firetruck ladders parked outside the churches. Flags at the Florida Capitol and in Hamilton County were flown at half-staff.

Also yesterday, in Arizona, one of three major wildfires was declared fully contained, a second was nearly out, and a third was growing only in a rugged area with a handful of residents.

Authorities said the Horseshoe Two wildfire near Portal in southeastern Arizona was surrounded after burning more than 348 square miles of the Chiricahua mountains in seven weeks. All evacuation orders have been lifted.

The huge blaze started May 8 and burned across one of the state’s so-called “sky island’’ mountain ranges, which rise from the surrounding desert and grasslands and aren’t connected to other ranges. The fire essentially burned the entire Chiricahua range, which is part of the Coronado National Forest.

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