On July 9, 2001, the fateful Thirtymile Fire ignited from an illegal campfire. What was thought to be a relatively simple suppression operation took a deadly turn during the peak burn period the next day. By the end of shift July 10th 2001 fourteen firefighters had been entrapped, four were dead and the fire was heading towards 9,000 acres in size and would cost over four million dollars to suppress.
Since that time hundreds of firefighters have traveled up the Chewuch River not only to pay their respects to fallen comrade but to learn from the lessons of that incident.
We started out at the Winthrop Memorial to Fallen Firefighters;
I was fortunate to once again be in the company of the Orcas Island firefighters. Adding to the learning experience were two local firefighters Pete Soderquist and Tom Leuschen who were to be our guides for the day. From here I'll let the phographic captions tell the story...
Winthrop Firefighters Memorial: http://www.methowartsalliance.org/pre/WildlandFIrefightersMemorial.htm
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue: http://www.orcasfire.org/
Fire Vision LLC: http://www.firevisionllc.com/staff.html