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Sunday, August 2, 2015

From The Secret list: U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Captain David Ruhl Killed By Entrapment In Fire

FROG FIRE LODD Modoc National Forest 

Line-of-Duty Fatality U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Captain David Ruhl 

That Fire Captain killed at the wildfire in Northern California was scouting the area when he became trapped by the wind-stoked wildfire conditions.

U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Captain David Ruhl was driving down a Modoc National Forest road in a vehicle Thursday when the fire suddenly grew and trapped him as he was trying to develop a plan of attack.

Captain Ruhl, of Rapid City, South Dakota, had been on temporary assignment since June in California, where he was an assistant fire management officer for the Big Valley Ranger District of the Modoc National. He had volunteered for the California assignment.

While details are still incomplete, it appears that Captain Ruhl was one of several firefighters exploring the area when the small fire suddenly expanded. Crews fighting the now growing fire had lost communication with Ruhl on Thursday evening. His body was recovered yesterday.

The fire is now (Saturday) about 100 miles south of the Oregon border, had burned 2.8 square miles and was 5 percent contained. Erratic winds were challenging fire-containment efforts and moving the fire in all directions. Gusty winds are expected this evening, when lightning storms are also forecast,since 2011.

As stated yesterday, Ruhl was the engine Captain for the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest, where he supervised a crew that would be responsible for sizing up and suppressing new wildfires. He also oversaw crews as they contained prescribed burns intentionally set to control forest and prairie growth.

From The Secret list:

Inciweb Report: 

Line-of-Duty Fatality Confirmed

Incident: Frog Fire Wildfire
Released: 1 day ago
It is with great sadness we must confirm a Forest Service firefighter lost his life yesterday while responding to the Frog Fire northwest of Adin, California. The deceased is David “Dave” Ruhl of Rapid City, South Dakota.
Search and rescue was conducted throughout the night until the firefighter was found this morning.
Dave was on temporary assignment to the Big Valley Ranger District of the Modoc National Forest as an Assistant Fire Management Officer since June 14. Dave’s permanent position is Engine Captain on the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest in Rapid City.
The Forest Service is investigating this line-of-duty death.
“This loss of life is tragic and heartbreaking,” said Forest Supervisor, Amanda McAdams. “Please keep the family and all of our Forest Service employees in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
The Frog Fire southeast of Lava Camp on the Big Valley Ranger District started yesterday afternoon, exhibiting active fire behavior and growing to more than 800 acres by this evening with active spotting ahead of the fire front.
Northern California Team 1 is expected to take over management of the fire tomorrow morning.

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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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