Incident Name: Cart Creek Fire, Ashley NF near Dutch John, UT
Date: 07/16/1977, approximately 1455 hrs
Personnel: 3 Lives Lost
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Gene Campbell, Age 57; Firefighter
Dave Noel, Age 36; YCC Camp Director
Dwight Hodgkinson, Age 23; Seasonal Firefighter
At about noon on July 16, 1977, lightning started a fire near Flaming Gorge Dam on the Ashley National Forest in Utah. Firefighters from the Ashley NF were dispatched and the first forces on scene arrived by helicopter to find a 1½ acre fire. During the two hours after the first attack, the fire out-flanked the initial piece of handline and had reached almost 50 acres in size. As the last of the initial attack firefighters arrived, the fire suddenly intensified and changed direction due to a wind shift. The Cart Creek Fire overtook the crew on a steep slope in sagebrush grass. Three firefighters were unable to escape. By nightfall over 800 acres were burned, the fire was eventually contained at 1500 acres.
The Cart Creek fire was also one of six multi-fatality fires in flashy fuels that occurred in a three year span (1976 - 1979). This rash of fatality fires spurred the implementation of a national standard for the use of fire shelters and flame-resistant clothing on wildland fires.
From the Staff Ride powerpoint slide show. Fire began slightly low and to the left of center.
Accident Site (approximate)
- Accident Investigation: Full Report (1,026 K pdf)
- Cart Creek: Followup Action Plan (80 K pdf)
- Staff Ride: Cart Creek
- Wildlandfire: Memorials and Monuments page
- From the Green River Star: Three Men Killed
- Biography for David Noel
- Biography for Gene Campbell
- Cart Creek Firefighters Memorial.
Location: N Hwy 260, Greendale, Daggett Co; 3 mi S of Flaming Gorge Dam, at back of campground; located on a rock ledge overlooking the area where the three firefighters lost their lives
In Memory Of Gene Campbell Dave Noel, and Dwight Hodgkinson Age 57, Age 35, Age 23 respectively. At about noon on July 16, 1977, lightning started a forest fire on the grassey flat between Spruce Creek and Cart Creek. Fire crews from the Ashley National Forest were dispatched to the fire. In mid-afternoon, a sudden wind intensified the fire causing it to shift toward the crews. A wall of flame overran the firelines. Within seconds many firefighters found themselves trapped. Three men were unable to escape. By nightfall, over 800 acres were burning. Two days later, gentle rains finally allowed 330 firefighters to control the fire. By then, 1480 acres had been burned. This site is dedicated to the memory of Gene, Dave and Dwight by their families, many friends, and fellow workers. They represented the finest tradition of the Forest Service, and the bravery of all who risk their lives fighting wildfires.
- Utah Firefighters Line of Duty Deaths, 1920-2012 by Steve Lutz
- US Forest Service Heroes Memorial: Gene Campbell | Dave Noel | Dwight Hodgkinson
Contributors to this article: June Johnston and the creators of the Cart Creek Staff Ride.
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