Rookie Firefighter from Olympic National Park Killed by Falling Tree in California
An 18-year-old hired at Olympic National Park in June to fight fires has been killed on the fire-lines in northern California. Andrew "Andy" Palmer died Friday shortly after a tree fell on him during his team's first day on the fire.
Palmer's four-person engine team had been dispatched last Tuesday to help fight the Eagle fire, which is burning as part of the Iron Complex in northern California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The 18-year-old, from Port Townsend, Washington, had just graduated from high school in June.
“We mourn Andy’s death and offer our support and deepest condolences to his family,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin.
An accident investigation team was being assembled Saturday and was to be co-led by National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service personnel. The rest of Palmer’s crew returned to Olympic National Park earlier Saturday.
National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar has ordered all flags throughout the National Park System be lowered to half staff.
"The collective hearts of the National Park Service go out to Andrew's family," said Director Bomar. "While the loss of any member of the NPS team is a sad event, Andrew's life was only beginning. He was filled with the energy and passion of youth, and he sought to give back to our nation by protecting the land from the ravages of fire."