What to Know
- Charles Morton, 39, was killed Sept. 17 battling the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County.
- The fire began about two weeks ago during a gender reveal party that used a smoke device.
- Morton was a 14-year veteran of the Forest Service.
The firefighter killed in the El Dorado Fire last week was identified as Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Squad Boss Charles Morton, USDA Forest Service announced in a statement Monday.
The fire started more than two weeks ago during a gender reveal party at which a smoke device was used. It spread quickly about 25 miles east of San Bernardino.
"It is with deep sadness that USDA Forest Service officials on the San Bernardino National Forest announce the death of Charles Morton, a Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Squad Boss, who died while engaged in fire suppression operations on the El Dorado Fire late Thursday, September 17, 2020," officials said.
A procession in honor of Morton was joined by his colleagues, firefighting agencies and law enforcement officers.
Morton, a San Diego Native, was only about a month past his 39th birthday, officials said. He started his career in 2002 with the California Conservation Corps at the Butte fire and move onto Firestorm Fire Suppression in Chico.
Morton spent 14 years with the Forest Service, starting in 2006 with the Truckee Interagency Hotshots on the Tahoe National Forest, officials said. Hotshot crews are highly trained firefighters often strategically deployed in difficult-to-access areas to help suppress flames.
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"Charlie then joined the San Bernardino National Forest in 2007 and worked on both the Front Country and Mountaintop Ranger Districts, for the Mill Creek Interagency Hotshots, Engine 31, Engine 19, and the Big Bear Interagency Hotshots," the statement read.
Morton's family shared, “Charlie is survived by his wife and daughter, his parents, two brothers, cousins, and friends. He’s loved and will be missed. May he rest easy in heaven with his baby boy.”
Cards and condolences may be sent to the Morton family at: P.O. Box 63564, Irvine, CA 92602. For FedEx and/or UPS: 1 League # 63564, Irvine, CA 92602 in care of “Support for Charlie.”
The El Dorado Fire was caused by a smoke device related to a gender reveal party and grew to more than 22,000 acres over the weekend.