BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The Forest Service committed serious safety violations last summer in battling an Idaho fire that claimed the lives of two firefighters, federal inspectors said Thursday.
The report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, however, did not directly link the violations to the deaths.
The report said instructions to crew members were unclear and escape routes were not identified. Also, fire managers failed to get the weather report the day the men were killed, and they didn't know stronger winds were expected that afternoon in the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
As the fire shifted and grew to 5,600 acres on July 21-22, the Forest Service failed to increase firefighter support or properly analyze the blaze, according to the report.
Two Idaho firefighters - Jeff Allen, 24, and Shane Heath, 22 - died after they rappelled onto a ridge to clear a helicopter landing pad. They called at least twice for a helicopter to pick them up when the fire advanced in their direction. But when one was finally sent, it was too smoky to find the two.
Regional Forester Jack Troyer said the OSHA investigation reached many of the same conclusions as an internal Forest Service review released in January. That investigation blamed fire managers for mistakes that led to the deaths.
Since then, Troyer said in a statement, ``the Forest Service has begun taking actions agency-wide to further reduce the risks of fighting fires.''