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Chief Jones is recognized as a listener and supporter who encourage others to grow and develop. He epitomizes what the Ray Picard Award stands for, committed to providing the leadership to institutionalize continuous improvement in your organization.
Rim Fire Continues to Grow
Already one of the 10 biggest fires in state history, the Rim Fire, which started on August 17, was continuing to grow covering 180,000 acres by late August. More than 4,000 personnel had been assigned to the fire, which was threatening about 4,500 homes and had already crossed the Yosemite National Park Boundary. Due to inaccessible, steep terrain and active fire behavior a combination of direct and indirect attack was being used. The Southeast Blue Team assumed command of the Rim Fire on August 23 at 6:00 a.m. and will remain in unified command with CalFire.
Rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior continued to hamper suppression efforts. A significant utilization and reliance upon aerial resources with heavy air tankers including the VLAT DC-10 and MAFFS was occurring with structure defense preparation of locations in advance of the fires spread, control of spot fires and slowing the fires advancement through terrain inaccessible to ground resources to allow time for indirect line construction to be completed. Type 1 helicopters were providing point protection and cooling areas where direct line construction could be achieved safely.
Four U.S. firefighters recently died in the line of duty. Two career firefighters, one volunteer firefighter and one contractor died in four separate incidents. One death was the result of an accident, and three deaths were health related.
LIEUTENANT JAMES FELLOWS, 45, of the Clearfield Township Fire Department in Rapid City, MI, died on Aug. 20. The previous day, Fellows responded to a rescue call. Less than 24 hours later, he died at home from a sudden illness. Fellows was a seven-year member of the department.
FIREFIGHTER OSCAR MONTANO-GARCIA, 50, a contract firefighter for Pacific Coast Contracting, died on Aug. 25. Montano-Garcia was working on the three-acre Nabob Fire in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Siskiyou County, CA, when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
CAPTAIN TOKEN ADAMS, 41, a U.S. Forest Service firefighter from the Jamez Ranger District, NM, died on Aug. 30. Adams was on an ATV checking on a report of smoke in the Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico when the vehicle ATV crashed. Adams was the subject of a week-long search before his body was discovered on Sept. 6. Adams was a 10-year veteran of the Forest Service.
ASSISTANT CHIEF JOE DARR, 62, of the Chillicothe, MO, Fire Department died on Sept. 4. On Aug. 17, Darr was found unresponsive at the fire station. He was initially transported to Hedrick Medical Center and then transferred to St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO. He was released from the hospital and found unresponsive at his home on Sept. 4. He was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he died. Darr was a 34-year veteran of the fire service.
—Jay K. Bradish