National Park  Service

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

For Immediate Release October 3, 2004

Jody Lyle (559) 565-3703


National Park Service Grieves For Wildland Firefighter

Wildland firefighter Daniel Holmes, age 26, of  Bellingham, Washington was killed yesterday when he was hit by a falling dead tree on the Grant West Prescribed Fire in Kings Canyon National Park. Daniel's family has been notified.

The accident occurred shortly after operations began at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 2. With four acres ignited, the top of a 100-foot white fir tree unexpectedly fell where firefighters were working, striking Holmes. Approximately 20 firefighters witnessed the accident and provided immediate medical assistance. Holmes was carried to a waiting ambulance by his fellow crewmembers, but passed away while being transported to a Lifeflight helicopter landing zone in the park.  Daniel never regained consciousness after the accident and was pronounced dead by the Lifeflight medical crew.

A three-person accident investigation team has already arrived in the park. Teams like this one are routinely dispatched for the Department of the Interior following serious accidents. Over the next few days, they will complete a standard investigation, interviewing witnesses and gathering documentation. 

"The National Park Service is heartbroken over this loss," said Superintendent Richard H. Martin. "My two priorities now are providing help for Daniel's family and supporting our park family here at Sequoia and Kings Canyon."

Holmes was a crewmember on the Arrowhead Hotshots, an elite firefighting crew that responds to large fires across the country. The National Park Service has two such crews: Arrowhead Hotshots at Kings Canyon and Alpine Hotshots at Rocky Mountain National Park.