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Jason Emhoff-A Return to Duty

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  • Jason Emhoff-A Return to Duty

    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - A Washington state firefighter who suffered
    severe burns in the deadly Thirty Mile fire two years ago has
    returned to fighting fires for the U.S. Forest Service.
    Jason Emhoff, 23, serves on a five-person engine crew that drove
    a pumper truck to San Bernardino, Calif., where strong winds pushed
    fires toward the resort towns of Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead.
    Thousands of people remained evacuated there Thursday.
    Emhoff called home to Yakima on Wednesday night to check in
    before things "heated up," said Steve Emhoff, his father.
    "He's very, very experienced in the woods, and he's just always
    been taught if you fall of the horse, you get back on," the elder
    Emhoff said.
    Jason Emhoff suffered spot burns over 37 percent of his body,
    including his face, neck, hands and legs, in the Thirty Mile fire
    in the North Cascades on July 10, 2001.
    The fire, started by an abandoned campfire, trapped 14
    firefighters and two campers in the narrow Chewuch River canyon in
    the Okanogan National Forest. Four Washington state firefighters
    died.
    A Forest Service investigation afterward concluded that fire
    bosses and managers broke basic safety rules of firefighting and
    disregarded numerous warning signs of danger.
    Steve Emhoff said his son returned to light duty for the Forest
    Service last year, often working as a safety coordinator. He
    returned to fighting fires full time this year in Washington and
    California, and his crew also aided in the search following the
    breakup of the shuttle Columbia over Texas on Feb. 1.
    "He's a good, all-around kid," Emhoff said, pointing to a
    photograph of Jason and a friend, both wearing firefighting gear,
    taken about two weeks before the Thirty Mile fire.
    "I had no concerns whatsoever about him returning. He's an
    eagle scout, he's an EMT, he's very conscious of his
    surroundings," his father said. "He knows what happened that day
    at the Thirty Mile fire. As far as I'm concerned, he's not going to
    let those circumstances surround him again."
    Jason recovered from his injuries with very few scars, full use
    of his badly burned hands and in overall "excellent" shape, Steve
    Emhoff said. He will likely stay with the Forest Service for many
    years, Emhoff said.
    Jason Emhoff has received several telephone messages from
    reporters. He did not return a call Thursday.
    "He doesn't want to make a big deal about it," his dad said.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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