Storm King Firefighters Memorial

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Connects: Two Rivers Park

Storm King Firefighters Memorial

The Storm King Firefighters Memorial in Two Rivers Park

Glenwood Springs, CO – Memorial

The Storm King Firefighters Memorial is a monument and plaques remembering the firefighters who fought the South Canyon Fire in 1994. This is a site at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs, CO.

News about the Storm King Firefighters Memorial can be found at:
Post Independent (July 5, 2014) – Tragedy on the mountain: Watch video and read the Storm King series
Post Independent (July 6, 2009) – The 15th anniversary of a tragedy

More information about the Storm King Fire can be found at:
Wikipedia – South Canyon Fire

A plaque at the memorial reads: (Click to expand)
“Look at the mountains in front of you. The massive mountain on the horizon is Storm King Mountain where 14 firefighters died on July 6, 1994.

A two-mile-long hiking trail leads up the rugged mountainside to the site where the firefighters fell. To reach the trailhead, drive west on I-70 to Exit 109. After exiting, head east along the frontage road to the trailhead parking area.

These memorials to honor the Storm King firefighters and all wildland firefighters were put in place through a greater community effort to ensure that…

We Will Not Forget”

A plaque at the memorial about the day of July 6, 1994 reads: (Click to expand)
South Canyon fire

July 6, 1994, on Storm King Mountain

At 4:30 a.m. on July 6, an 11-person Bureau of Land Management/Forest Service crew began their return hike to the South Canyon fire. They joined a team of eight smokejumpers who had spent the night fighting the slow-moving blaze. Both crews had begun fighting the fire the previous day. They continued clearing fireline and helicopter landing zones (Heliports H1 and H2 on diagram).

Later that morning, eight more smokejumpers and ten members of the hotshot crew arrived. They concentrated on clearing wireline between the two helispots and along the western flank of the fire. A helicopter with helitack crew assisted with water drops and reconnaissance flights. The remainder of the hotshot crew was flown to the ridge top at 3:00 p.m. and assigned to wireline work on the ridge.

As the day became warmer and winds increase, fire activity intensified and crews combatted several small spot fires that crossed the wireline. Steep terrain and dense vegetation made it difficult to see what the fire below was doing. At about 4:00 p.m. a dry cold front hit the area. Fanned by winds gusting to 45 miles per hour, the fire exploded. It jumped down-slope, and then began racing uphill at speeds up to 35 feet per second.

On the west flank of the fire, a smokejumper reported a spot fire below the wireline. Everyone was told to move toward safety routes. The smokejumpers (A) climbed uphill into a previously-burned area. In winds strong enough to blow off their hard hats, they climbed into their fire shelters. They remained there for one and a half hours as the fire burned nearby.

Crews on the ridge top (B) were told to move to the safety zone at Helispot 1. Cut off by the fire, they ran back along the ridge and down the east drainage to the highway. Several firefighters working near the ridge top (C) paused to encourage the crews coming up behind them before fleeing down the east drainage.

Hotshots and smokejumpers working the lower west flank (D) began moving back up the fireline. Unable to see the fire because of the dense oak brush canopy, they were trapped (X) when the fire jumped to the slope below them and flashed up the ridge. The two helitack crewmen at Helispot 2 (E) ran north and west along the ridge and were trapped (X) when the fire raced up the rocky slope.

In only five hours, the South Canyon fire consumed almost 2,115 acres. After one more small run, it was declared controlled on July 11.

In storm and cloud and wind and sky,
In heart and mind and hand and eye,
A bond still binds too strong to tell,
All those who fly with these who fell.

-Author unknown

Helitack: Grand Junction, CO
Rob Browning   Marion, NC
Rich Tyler   Palisade, CO

Smokejumpers: Missoula, MT
Don Mackey   Hamilton, MT

Smokejumpers: McCall, ID
Roger Roth   L’Anse, MI
Jim Thrash   New Meadows, ID

Hotshots: Princeville, OR
Kathi Beck   Boring, OR
Tami Bickett   Lebanon, OR
Scott Blecha   Clatskanie, OR
Levi Brinkley   Burns, OR
Doug Dunbar   McKenzie Bridge, OR
Terri Hagen   Prineville, OR
Bonnie Holtby   Redmond, OR
Rob Johnson   Roseburg, OR
Jon Kelso   Prineville, OR”

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