Firefighters don’t just fight wildfires. Most of the year they man rural and city fire stations. They live in their communities, respond to traffic incidents, medical emergencies, search and rescue, and putting out structure fires. They often run into danger and leap at any chance they get to help those who can’t help themselves.
This selflessness was recently demonstrated by a firefighter combatting the El Dorado fire, started on Sept 5th in San Bernardino County. Due to high temperatures and dry conditions the fire spread very quickly into forest lands. Several hotshot crews were deployed to slow this fire as best they could.
Hotshot crews were founded in the 1940s in Southern California. They were named hotshots because they were hand crews designed to slow wildfires at the hottest points. They are highly trained mobile teams that can be deployed in any variety of fire conditions.
Sadly, while fighting the El Dorado fire, Charles Edward Morton sacrificed his life. He was a hotshot boss who loved his job and crewed hotshot teams for 14 years:
“Charlie was a well-respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew at the toughest times,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen in the statement. “Our hearts go out to Charlie’s loved ones, coworkers, friends and the Big Bear Hotshots. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”Source
Most people sit in their homes and watch these horrific fires on the news. It takes a special kind of courage to run towards the flames. Firefighter hotshots like Charles Morton truly exemplify the word “hero”. We salute his service and send our prayers to his family.