Firefighter killed in Montana is returned to California
Aug. 07, 2017
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — The body of a firefighter who was killed in Montana last week was flown home to California on Monday.
A U.S. Forest Service aircraft flew the body of Brent Witham, 29, from Missoula to a Southern California air tanker base in San Bernardino, where a large contingent of fellow firefighters saluted.
A procession of vehicles accompanied the hearse as it headed to a mortuary. A memorial service will be held Thursday.
Witham, of Mentone, died Aug. 2 when he was struck by a falling tree while fighting the Lolo Peak Fire in western Montana.
He was employed by the San Bernardino National Forest since fall 2015 as a member of the Vista Grande Hotshots. He previously was a member of Tahquitz Hand Crew and a firefighter with an engine crew.
"Brent was a hardworking professional, who was eager to learn and be the best that he could be — he will be missed by all he touched," San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron said in a statement.
Witham was the second firefighter to die 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.