U.S. Forest Service officials hope to learn from firefighter deaths

Posted at: 09/20/2013 7:16 PM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's been one week since wild land firefighter Token Adams was laid to rest. Adams died when his ATV rolled on top of him as he was searching for a fire in the Santa Fe National Forest.

With recent firefighter deaths it raises questions about if there could be protocol changes.

It's been a tough year for fire fighters. More than 30 have been killed on the fire lines and the season isn't over yet. Token Adams, 41, is the most recent fallen hero.

As family and friends grieve for their loss more details are being revealed in the investigation. Karen Takai said it appears Adams was killed instantly, as the ATV rolled on top of him on August 30.

"It's been really difficult for the forest service, for the family, for everyone," Takai said.

Crews searched for seven days after Adams vanished while searching for a blaze in the forest. KOB Eyewitness News 4 wanted to know if the Forest Service is considering changes, such as sending firefighters in pairs or installing GPS locators on vehicles.

Takai said those are possibilities but it's too soon to say.

"Firefighting is inherently dangerous," Takai said. "When we take these jobs, we know that. That is a risk we are going to take to do these jobs."

In the U.S. Forest Service there are several classes, refreshes, rules and regulations. Takai said accidents can still happen to the most experienced and well prepared firefighters.