Memorial held for Inland Empire firefighter who died battling Montana fire

A memorial was held Thursday for the Inland Empire firefighter Brent Witham who died while fighting a wildfire in Montana.


Hundreds of firefighters from across the country attended a ceremony at a Montana airport during which the body of 29-year-old California Hot Shot Witham was loaded onto a U.S. Forest Service Sherpa plane to be returned to California.

Witham, of Mentone, California, died on August 2 when he was struck by a falling tree while fighting the Lolo Peak Fire in western Montana.


A funeral procession led by Montana Highway Patrol cruisers followed Witham's body from the funeral home to the Missoula Aerial Fire Depot. The procession passed through a corridor Hotshot crew trucks with their signal lights flashing.

A bagpipe trio played "Amazing Grace" as pallbearers loaded his flag-draped casket into the rear cargo door of the airplane.

7:45 a.m.

The body of a 29-year-old California firefighter who died in western Montana last week will be transported to the Missoula airport in a procession Monday morning.

Hotshot Brent Witham of Mentone, California, died on Aug. 2 when he was struck by a falling tree while fighting the Lolo Peak fire in the Lolo National Forest.

The procession begins at the Garden City Funeral Home at 9 a.m. Monday. The public is asked to line Broadway between the funeral home and the Reserve Street overpass by 8:30 a.m.

Memorial services will be held in California.

His was the second firefighter death in Montana in less than two weeks. Trenton Johnson of Missoula died on July 19 when a dead tree fell and hit him near Seeley Lake. He was 19.