SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The firefighter killed while battling the El Dorado Fire last week has been identified as Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Squad Boss 39- year-old Charles Morton, officials announced Monday.
Sharing our deepest sympathies Chief Vicki Christiansen posted, “Thursday evening we lost one of our own. Charlie Morton, Squad Boss for the Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Crew of the San Bernardino National Forest, was tragically killed during efforts to suppress the El Dorado Fire on their home unit. Our hearts go out to Charlie’s loved ones, friends, coworkers and the Big Bear Hotshots.”
“Charlie was a well-respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew at the toughest times,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen.
“Our hearts go out to Charlie’s loved ones, coworkers, friends and the Big Bear Hotshots. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”
Charlie was born on August 7, 1981, in San Diego, California. He started his career in 2002 as Corpsman with the California Conservation Corps at the Butte Fire Center in Magalia, moving to the 2006 fire season with Firestorm Fire Suppression in Chico, officials said.
Morton spent 14 years with the Forest Service, starting in 2006 with the Truckee Interagency Hotshots on the Tahoe National Forest.
His family has asked to share that, “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."
Authorities determined the El Dorado Fire was sparked by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a gender reveal photoshoot over the Labor Day weekend.