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Incident Name: Grizzly Fire on the Lower Trinity Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest
Date: 7/25/69, 1300 hours
Personnel: Richard R. Rosvall
Age: 30 years
Agency/Organization: a US Forest Service helicopter
Position: Helitack Foreman at Ammon Helitack (near Salyer, now gone), Lower Trinity R.D., Six Rivers National Forest from 1966-1969

Summary: On July 25, 1969, Richard Rosvall was acting as helitack foreman for a Forest Service helicopter that was fighting a fire on the Six Rivers National Forest near Grizzly Camp on the boundary of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. The Forest Service helicopter was delivering firefighters to the Grizzly Meadow mountainside. It touched down. One or more firefighters left the ship, apparently causing it to lift as he (or they) stepped off the skid. On the uneven ground the helicopter became unbalanced and the pilot lost control. The main rotor struck the ground and then the rotor subsequestly struck and fatally injured Rosvall who had exited.

 

Richard Rosvall Richard Rosvall

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Maps

Location of Grizzly Camp.

Location of Grizzly Meadow crash site.

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 7/25/1969, shortly after 1 PM, Bell Helicopter
    • 1 killed: Rich Rosvall, helitack foreman
    • Operator: Forest Service
    • Type: Bell 47G-3B
    • Location: near Willow Creek CA
    • FAA Registration # N8465E
    • NTSB # OAK70A0008
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (screensave of Probable Cause.)
    • Probable Cause(s):
      • Personnel - Miscellaneous-Personnel: Ground Crewman
      • Pilot in Command - Selected unsuitable terrain
      • Miscellaneous Acts, Conditions - Improperly loaded aircraft-weight-and/or center of gravity.
    • Remarks: Landing on inadequate pad on mountain side, right skid off pad; Man jumped on/off skid, caused Main Rotor to hit the ground, control loss.
  • You can check  the NTSB Search Utility -- accident number OAK70A0008.
  • US Forest Service: Grizzly Fire Report, 1969 (113 K pdf)
  • US Forest Service: Bridge Dedication Approval Process from the District to the Washington Office (95 K pdf)
  • US Forest Service: 6/23/1984 Bridge Dedication Program (220 K pdf)
  • US Forest Service Heroes: Richard R. Rosvall

30 to 42 years later -- Photos and notes from Lower Trinity DFMO Paul Johnson:

August 1999, my old crew Lassen Hotshots -- we were gearing up to hike into the wilderness to work on the Megram and Fawn fires (Big Bar Complex).

Grizzly Camp, 8/1999 Grizzly Camp, 8/1999

November 1999, right after the Megram fire blew through Grizzly camp, the beautiful trees from the previous picture are burnt and dead but still standing.

Grizzly Camp, 11/1999 Grizzly Camp, 11/1999

Summer 2012, from roughly the same spot at Grizzly camp, snags and brush.

Grizzly Camp, 6/2012 Grizzly Camp, 6/2012

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

Location of the bridge dedicated to Richard Rosvall in 1984 and re-dedicated in 2012.

     

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    Contributors to this article: Paul Johnson, Mike Jameson, Rob Maclellan, Tim Bussell, Gordon Foster, Mike Matarrese, John Miller, Rene Vanderhooft

     

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