BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service has proposed disciplining six employees over their actions during a wildfire that killed two firefighters last year. The proposed actions range from suspension to firing, Regional Forester Jack Troyer said. He would not release the names of the Salmon-Challis National Forest employees or say how many of the workers the agency had proposed be fired.
Jeff Allen, 24, and Shane Heath, 22, died in the forest July 22 after they rappelled onto a ridge to clear a helicopter landing pad. They radioed for a helicopter at least twice when the fire advanced in their direction, but when one was finally sent, the area was too smoky to find the men.
Separate investigations by the Forest Service and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration blamed fire managers for the deaths. Investigators found that escape routes were not identified and that fire managers did not check weather reports that forecast stronger winds.
OSHA inspectors claimed the Forest Service violated all 10 basic safety standards listed under the Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations. Those standards include such common sense rules as ``know what your fire is doing at all times,'' ``maintain prompt communications with your forces'' and ``think clearly.''
The affected employees will have a chance to argue against the discipline before the Forest Service makes a final decision, agency spokeswoman Erin O'Connor said.