Longtime firefighter suffers medical emergency and dies fighting Moose Fire


SALMON — A wildland firefighter died this week after suffering a medical emergency while battling the Moose Fire north of Salmon.

Gerardo Rincon, 48, was a crew boss from Oregon working for North Reforestation Inc., according to a post from the U.S. Forest Service. He died during the early morning on Tuesday.

“Gerardo served as a wildland firefighter since 1994,” said Salmon-Challis National Forest Supervisor Charles A. Mark in a Facebook post. “During his 28-year career he was a Type 2 firefighter, engine captain, and crew boss. He was highly recognized for his performance by his employers and crew members enjoyed working for him during many fire assignments.”

Rincon’s passing marks the third firefighter death at the Moose Fire since it ignited on July 17. Helicopter pilots Thomas Hayes and Jared Bird were killed in late July when their aircraft crashed into the Salmon River.

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The Moose Fire is one of the largest active wildfires in the United States. It is currently 130,110 acres and is 51% contained. Fire officials believe it was human-caused. There are 588 firefighters battling the fire, according to a Salmon-Challis National Forest news release.

No other details were given about the manner of Rincon’s death.

“Tragedies of this nature serve as a reminder of the honorable work and sacrifices made by women and men like Gerardo. They commit themselves daily to supporting and protecting communities around the country,” Mark said in the Facebook post.

On Saturday, there was a procession for Rincon. His body was taken from the Jones and Casey Funeral Home through downtown Salmon to the Lemhi County Airport. Hundreds of firefighters lined the streets to bid him farewell before he was flown to Oregon.

A viewing is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the Farnstrom’s Mortuary in Independence, Oregon from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. A funeral mass will occur on Sept. 29 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church followed by a burial at Hilltop Cemetery.

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