Incident Name: Canoe Landing Fire
Personnel: Donald L. Eisberner
Agency/Organization: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Position: Forest Fire Control Assistant and Firefighter, Tractor Plow Operator
Summary: Don Eisberner lost his life on April 24, 1982 while fighting a 274 acre forest fire that started at the Canoe Landing on Eau Claire County Forest land, Augusta WI. It started from an unattended campfire which then spread to dry grass and into a young tree plantation. With a sudden wind shift, the fire turned and trapped Don and his tractor plow unit.
- Memorial Plaque dedication at the "Donald L. Eisberner Memorial Forest and Canoe Landing". In addition to the summary above, it says:
During his 30 year career as a Forest Fire Control Assistant with the Fairchild Ranger District, WI Department of Natural Resources, Don Eisberner provided exceptional service to the citizens of Wisconsin, protecting them and their land from fire and teaching area school children about fire prevention as "Smokey the Bear".
- USFA Memorial Database: Don Eisberner
- They Said It post April, 2009
I'm a firefighter from Wisconsin and we are mutual aid partners with both Augusta/Bridge Creek and the Wisconsin DNR. I can't believe that it's 15 years since that Easter Sunday fire.
A few months ago when I was working my former job at a nursing home in west central wisconsin, I struck up a conversation with a resident who had overheard me telling someone that I was a firefighter. We talked for a few minutes and she asked me if I had ever fought any brush fires. When I told her that I had, she replied "my brother used to do that, and he was on some big ones" I asked which fire department he worked for and she said simply "the state". Before I could say anything else her next words were "he died fighting a brush fire". I knew that there had been only one DNR firefighter to ever lose his life in the line of duty. "The Canoe Landing Fire"? I asked. "Yes, Don (Eisberner) was my younger brother". I couldn't believe it. We talked for quite a while that day and she told me all about Firefighter Eisberner and how much he loved what he did. Before I left the room, I said "you can be proud of him, we all were" Small world isn't it?
Anyway, thanks for your time, and may all of us come home safe every time this season.
Firefighter/EMT, Eau Claire County Wisconsin
- They Said It post July, 2003
- Wisconsin State Firefighter's Memorial: Don Eisberner, DNR Firefighter
- Firefighters Risk Their Lives to Save Others
December 11, 2011, Online Article, in Section "Dying on Duty"
- Don Eisberner is on the USFA National Memorial Wall in Virginia, under Wisconsin
Contributors to this article: Frank from Eau Claire County WI and Jim Gobel provided photos
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