President’s Message October 8, 2014
Brothers and Sisters,
Unfortunately, we work in a profession where there are going to be terrible reminders of the constant dangers associated with protecting lives and property. As you know by now, CAL FIRE Tanker 81 tragically crashed yesterday while battling the Dog Rock Fire near Yosemite National Park. The plane reportedly went down near the Dog Rock Fire within a mile from the park’s western entrance. Last night CAL FIRE, U.S. Forest Service and rescue crews hiked through extremely rugged terrain to reach the wreckage and confirm the death of the pilot. At this time, the family asked for an opportunity to make notifications to family members before his name is released publicly.
Our lost pilot is a 13 year veteran and is an employee of DynCorp., a contractor that provides the pilots for all CAL FIRE air tankers. Make no mistake about it, he was one of ours and his loss is deeply personal for all firefighters. CAL FIRE Local2881 will be treating this as a Type I funeral; the pilot will be honored for sacrificing his life for the safety of the community and fellow firefighters. He was a man of extraordinary skill and talent and he will be missed by those who worked with him and those who loved him.
The term “Fire Season” no longer holds true for the men and women of CAL FIRE. The way we fight fires are a way of life throughout the year. Even if the rains come early which is not expected, the job we do is done on a daily basis 365 days year. Whether you work in the San Diego Unit on a truck company or in Siskiyou on a Type III, CAL FIRE and its partners never leaves the front lines and are always available to answer a call for help from the people of California.
Again, fire dangers are far from over so please take care of yourself and others. You are important, and your safety matters to family, friends, colleagues and the communities we protect.
Please keep our lost firefighter, and his family, in your prayers.