Equipment Operator Dies While Working Pardee Fire In Kamiah


By Paul Johnson

Kamiah, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) – A dozer operator died Monday afternoon on the Pardee Fire in the Idaho Department of Lands Maggie Creek Forest Protective District.

Dennis Long of Clarkston died from an apparent heart attack or other natural cause while operating the dozer and putting in fire line during suppression operations. IDL staff notified Long’s wife and grown daughter in Clarkston Monday night. Long was in his 50s and was a private logging contractor.

The dozer boss performed CPR on Long before Life Flight and emergency medical services arrived on scene, where Long was pronounced dead.

The IDL is arranging a session in Kamiah for fire workers affected by the fatality.

The Pardee Fire started at 7:00 AM on Monday, July 8. It was caused by lightning. It is located between Greer and Kamiah on the east side of the Clearwater River, approximately 8 miles northwest of Kamiah in Idaho County. The nearest structures (homes) are within two miles of the fire, but the IDL does not expect the structures to be threatened. The fire has grown to approximately 55 acres but started to lay down after an active night shift on the fire. Fire crews were able to establish 40 percent containment over night. Close to 60 personnel will provide additional suppression support this morning – two 20-person hand crews, three engine crews, two dozers, and a Type 1 helicopter. The IDL also has initiated a Type 3 (local) incident management team. This morning the fire is under the management of Incident Commander Jeff Handel of the Nez Perce Tribe.

The fire is burning in grass and open pine stands in steep terrain that plateaus atop the mountains. Carrot Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and an inmate crew from Orofino assisted IDL on the fire Monday, along with assistance from the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office and Kamiah Ambulance.

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