Firefighter Killed Battling El Dorado Fire in CA Identified

Charles Morton
This photo provided by the family via the U.S. Forest Service shows Charles Morton, a squad boss with the Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Crew of the San Bernardino National Forest, in San Bernardino, Calif. Morton died Sept. 17, 2020, in San Bernardino National Forest as crews battled the El Dorado Fire about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement. (Family Photo/Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service via AP)

The U.S. Fire Administration has an update on a firefighter who was killed in a California wildfire that officials say was sparked by a pyrotechnic device used at gender-reveal party.

Firefighter Charlie Morton, 39, squad boss on the Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Crew, died during interagency fire suppression activities on the El Dorado Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest in California on September 17, 2020. The Big Bear Hotshots are local to the San Bernardino National Forest. 

“Thursday evening we lost one of our own,” said Chief Vicki Christiansen on Twitter. “Charlie Morton, squad boss for the Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Crew of the San Bernardino National Forest, was tragically killed during efforts to suppress the El Dorado Fire on their home unit. Our hearts go out to Charlie’s loved ones, friends, coworkers and the Big Bear Hotshots.”

Firefighters in California are continuing to battle more than two dozen major wildfires burning across the state, including the Bobcat Fire, which had prompted the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes in the Los Angeles area. Crews were facing five of the largest fires in state history in the 2020 wildfire season, with more than 6,000 structures destroyed and an area larger than the state of Connecticut having burned, according to the Associated Press.

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