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Incident Name:  Slater Fire on the Klamath National Forest
Date: 9/1//87
Personnel:  Bruce F. Visser from the San Bernardino National Forest
Age:  34
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Position: firefighter

Summary: On September 1, 1987, Bruce F. Visser of the San Bernardino NF was hit by a motorcycle on the side of old Hwy 96 while conducting structure protection during the Slater Fire on the Klamath National Forest. It is not uncommon for wildland firefighters to die far from home.

Structure protection burn at night, Happy Camp, 2001 Structure protection burn at night, Happy Camp, 2001

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Old Highway 96 in Happy Camp, CA

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  • Firefighters sent to work Calif. blazes

    Oct 2, 1987 | AP | Online Article (no longer online)

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Firefighters called in from across the nation deployed in the forests of Northern California Tuesday, battling hundreds of lightning-spawned fires that blackened 32,000 acres and forced evacuations in some mountain communities. Three rural communities in western Oregon were threatened by fires surging through tinder-dry timber, while firefighters in Idaho slowly gained ground against a range blaze that menaced a Pocatello neighborhood.

    In California, nearly 9,000 firefighters battled major blazes in the Stanislaus, Klamath, and Shasta-Trinity national forests and nearly 300 smaller fires, said Mike Milosch of the U.S. Forest Service in Sacramento. Milosch said firefighters have controlled about 700 other blazes ignited by nearly 5,000 lightning strikes since Saturday. It is the worst onslaught of its kind in California since the lightning-plagued summer of 1977, when a fire in the Los Padres National Forest blackened nearly 200,000 acres. The federal and state firefighters employed at least 48 air tankers, 296 fire engines, 31 helicopters, and scores of bulldozers in the latest battle, officials said.

    A U.S. Forest Service firefighter, Bruce F. Visser, 34, of Mountain Center, was killed Tuesday when he was hit by a motorcycle near a fire line, said Harley Greiman, a forest service spokesman in the Klamath National Forest. (More at the link.)

  • Fireman Dies as Blazes Up North Rage Out of Control

    September 02, 1987 | AP | Online Article

    The battle claimed the life early Tuesday of a U.S. Forest Service firefighter, Bruce F. Visser, 34, of Mountain Center near San Bernardino, said Harley Greiman, a forest service spokesman in the Klamath National Forest.

    Struck by Motorcycle

    Visser was standing on a Klamath National Forest road being used as a fire line when he was hit by a motorcycle. The unidentified driver was under investigation in Siskiyou County for felony hit and run, Greiman said. (Read the rest of the article for the statistics.)

Bruce Visser Bruce Visser

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Elk Complex Remembrance Ceremony, July 28, 2007: Brochure (4,430 K pdf)

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Contributors to this article: Tom Patterson

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