Storm King Mountain, CO Wildfire Firefighters Die, Jul 1994
TWELVE FIREFIGHTERS DIE IN SWIFT COLORADO WILDFIRE.
Glenwood Springs, Colo. (AP) - A swift wildfire whipped by high winds roared over a steep mountainside, trapping 50 firefighters. Twelve were killed and two were missing today in one of the country's deadliest such disasters.
The firefighters were trapped Wednesday about 7,000 feet up the rugged slope of Storm King Mountain, where the rough terrain left them no place to flee, said Garfield County Undersheriff Levy Burris.
The survivors escaped to burned-over ground where the fire could not take hold, then straggled out when the danger passed, Gov. Roy Romer said at a news conference Wednesday night.
This morning, he said the initial count of 11 dead had risen to 12, and two firefighters were still missing. "The search will begin just as soon as daylight arrives," Romer said.
"It just reminds us all of the great tragedy that can occur when you're dealing with fire," he said.
He said the families of the firefighters had not been notified because the victims had not been positively identified.
Romer called for an investigation to determine why so many lives were lost. Weather forecasters had predicted high winds, but firefighters were left in the field.
Fire officials said some of the victims apparently had tried to climb into their fire-shelters, shiny blankets used as shields during flare-ups.
The lightning-sparked fire began Sunday, five miles west of Glenwood Springs. The mountain resort of 6,000 people is between Aspen and Vail about 180 miles west of Denver.
The fire had been confined to 50 acres until high winds fanned it out of control Wednesday afternoon. Within five hours, it grew to 2,000 acres.
The Newark Advocate Ohio 1994-07-07
Prineville Hotshots: KATHI BECK, TAMERA BICKETT, SCOTT BLECHA, LEVI BRINKLEY, DOUGLAS DUNBAR, TERRI HAGEN, BONNIE HOLTBY, ROB JOHNSON, JON KELSO.
Missoula Smokejumper: DON MACKEY.
McCall Smokejumpers: ROGER ROTH, JIM THRASH.
Helitack: ROBERT BROWNING, JR., RICHARD TYLER.