A firefighter who died fighting the El Dorado Fire last Thursday, Sept. 17, has been identified by officials on Monday, Sept. 21, as Charlie Morton, 39 years old. Morton worked as a firefighter for 18 years, starting in 2002. He was a leader of the Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Crew of the San Bernardino National Forest, a squad boss from an elite hotshot crew.
He leaves behind a wife, two daughters, parents, cousins, and many friends.
There have now been 26 deaths attributed to the wildfires raging across the state.
In a public statement released on Monday, the U.S. Forest Service – San Bernardino National Forest, announced the following on Monday by Chief Vicki Christiansen
“Sharing our deepest sympathies…
“Thursday evening, we lost one of our own. 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.”
The El Dorado Fire was started by a smoke bomb on September 5 at a baby gender-reveal party in El Dorado Park located in the Yucaipa/Oak Glen area of Southern California. It has now burned 22,597 acres and is 68% contained.
What’s particularly sad, is that this is not the first fire started by using an explosive device at a gender-reveal party. In 2017, a gender reveal party in Arizona sparked a wildfire that burned nearly 47,000 acres and caused more than $8 million in damage.