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Curtis Lloyd Jessen

Assistant District Forester

On August 20, 2008, personnel from the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources were dispatched to a wildland fire. Firefighter found a slow moving fire in an area with extremely rough terrain and dangerous rock cliffs. With nightfall approaching, firefighters constructed a containment line around the fire to hold the fire until the next morning. On the morning of August 21, 2008, Assistant District Forester Jessen joined other firefighters in preparations to mop up the fire. Assistant District Forester Jessen advised the IC that he was going to scout around the other side of the fire. Approximately 15 minutes later, the IC unsuccessfully attempted to contact Assistant District Forester Jessen by radio and cell phones. Firefighters were sent to check on the safety of Assistant District Forester Jessen. He was found at the bottom of a 66 foot ravine. When firefighters reached Assistant District Forester Jessen, he was obviously deceased. A complicated recovery process was executed by firefighters to remove Assistant District Forester Jessen from the ravine.
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Curtis Lloyd Jessen 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

North Carolina Division of Forest Resources, Region III
14 Gaston Mountain Road
USNG: 17S LV 5215 3410
Asheville, North Carolina 28806

Chief: Regional Forester Greg Yates

Age: 32
Rank: Assistant District Forester
Classification: Wildland Full-Time
Incident date: August 21, 2008 10:30
Date of death: August 21, 2008
Cause of death: Fall
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Incident Command
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property

Last updated: March 27, 2018

Watch America’s Tribute to Fallen Firefighters

Honoring line-of-duty deaths in 2019