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Monday, February 14, 2011

#USFS: Captain died Friday after motorcycle accident in Big Bear City

U.S. Forest Service fire Capt. Gabriel Pomona, 36, was killed Friday
A U.S. Forest Service captain died Friday after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a pickup in Big Bear City. 
  Gabriel Pomona, 36, was traveling west on West North Shore Drive, at Tinker Bell Avenue, on his motorcycle about 6 p.m. when someone in a pickup, traveling east on North Shore Drive, turned left in front of Pomona and struck him, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department.

Pomona was rushed to Bear Valley Community Hospital in Big Bear Lake, where he died in the emergency room at 6:55p.m., according to the coroner's office.

Pomona was captain of the Forest Service's Big Bear Hot Shot crew, the backbone of fire suppression efforts. The crew cuts lines around wildland fires to contain them, said Forest Service spokesman John Miller.
"It all comes down to that Hot Shot crew putting the (fire) lines down," Miller said.

News of Pomona's death quickly reverberated throughout the Forest Service community Friday and Saturday.
Miller said he knew Pomona about 10 years.

"He was just a highly motivated firefighter and a great guy to be around," said Miller. "He always had a real positive, uplifting spirit, and when you're around people like that they bring you up, too.

Pomona, of Big Bear City, began his career with the Forest Service's San Bernardino division in 1995. He was stationed in Big Bear City and headed the Forest Service's 20-member Big Bear Hot Shot Crew, Miller


He came to the San Bernardino National Forest Mountaintop Ranger District in 1999 as an apprentice on a fire engine in Big Bear. In 2001, he assisted with certification of the new Big Bear hand crew and became a squad boss. He also was involved in certification of the Big Bear Hotshots in 2003 as a type one interagency hotshot crew.

From 2006 to 2008, he was a captain with the Crane Valley Hotshots on the Sierra National Forest, before returning as a crew captain with the Big Bear Hotshots in 2008.

He participated in Christmas bike drives for Inland children.

"Throughout his career, Gabriel has touched many lives and will be sadly missed," according to a statement released by the Forest Service on Saturday.

Pomona is survived by his wife, Summer, and multiple family members.

Memorial Service: Flowers and cards can be sent in care of the Big Bear Ranger Station, 42300 North Shore Drive Highway 38, P.O. Box 290, Fawnskin, CA 92333. All correspondence will be forwarded to the family. Memorial Service and donation information will be forthcoming.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the traffic collision.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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