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Alan Wayne Wyatt

Firefighter

Firefighter Wyatt was a seasonal tree faller hired by the Forest Service. He first worked the Million fire and was then directed to report to the Missionary Ridge fire on July 1, 2002. He reported for work the morning of July 2, 2002, and was assigned to assist clearing dangerous trees near a road in an area that had already burned. After a pause in work because of dangerous winds, fallers were briefed on potential hazards and on the work plan for the afternoon. Firefighter Wyatt began to cut down a tree that had been marked for removal. Out of his line of sight, a fire damaged tree fell in his direction. The tree fell from behind Firefighter Wyatt. A skid operator who saw the incident from a distance ran to the aid of Firefighter Wyatt. The tree that trapped him was cut into pieces and he was freed. Firefighter Wyatt suffered severe head injuries and a broken leg. He was moved to a safe area by other firefighters where it was determined that Firefighter Wyatt had died. The cause of death was listed as head trauma. The tree that fell and crushed Firefighter Wyatt was a large aspen. The roots of the tree had been weakened by fire, allowing the tree to fall. Firefighter Wyatt was not working with a swamper (assistant) at the time of the incident. One of the duties of a swamper is to keep watch for hazards that may be out of the faller’s view.
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Alan Wayne Wyatt was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

US Forest Service, San Juan National Forest
Columbine East Ranger District
PO 439
Bayfield, Colorado 81122

Chief: District Ranger

Age: 51
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Career
Incident date: July 2, 2002 17:45
Date of death: July 2, 2002
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property

Last updated: June 13, 2012