The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a citation to a fire management organization and proposed a $14,000 fine for serious safety violations inspectors say led to the death of a U.S. Forest Service firefighter last summer, reports the Great Falls Tribune.
OSHA cited Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association, which was managing the Steep Corner Fire near Orofino last August when several trees fell. One of those falling trees killed Anne Veseth, 20, of Moscow.
The citation, dated Feb. 7, said the initial attack team violated eight of the 10 Standing Firefighting Orders, including maintaining proper communications, being aware of weather conditions and ensuring escape routes and safety zones were properly identified.
Federal inspectors also cited the Forest Service for failing to maintain unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. Agency officials are still reviewing the findings. The Forest Service is conducting its own set of investigations and expects to release those findings soon.
“We’re very concerned about doing everything we can to maximize safety for our firefighters,” said Phil Sammon, spokesman for the Forest Service regional office in Missoula.
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