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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Esperanza Fire Deaths Remembered

Five years ago this coming Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at about 7:30am, the Esperanza Fire killed five valiant firefighters. Taken from us that morning at the fire were the following United States Forest Service, San Bernardino National Forest personnel assigned to BDF Engine 57:

· Captain Mark Loutzenhiser, 43, Idyllwild, California
· Engineer Jess McLean, 27, Beaumont, California
· Assistant Engineer Jason McKay, 27, Apple Valley, California
· Firefighter Pablo Cerda, 23, Fountain Valley, California
· Firefighter Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20, San Jacinto, California

The fire created for many of us memories we will never forget. Some of the memories are positive and have further led to positive changes in how we do business or created a reflection on all the great work we all did at the Esperanza Fire. Some of the memories remain very difficult for others and will never be forgotten. For many, life will never be the same after the Esperanza Fire. We must respect our feelings; they are real. My heartfelt feelings of loss go out to the families of the lost firefighters and to the USFS family.