News Release

USDA Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth OSHA’s Investigation Report of the Cramer Fire

Washington
April 1, 2004 -

 

On April 1, 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service received U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) investigation report regarding two Forest Service firefighters, Jeff Allan and Shane Heath, who lost their lives July 22, 2003 in the Cramer Fire on the Salmon-Challis National Forest in central Idaho. OSHA levied five violations against the Forest Service. A statement by USDA Forest Chief Bosworth follows:

“I take these violations very seriously and believe that safety must absolutely be our highest priority. I have instructed agency fire managers to take a hard look at OSHA’s report. While OSHA’s findings are similar to the Forest Service’s own investigation of earlier this year, the Forest Service will develop a separate Hazard Abatement Plan to address the hazards and violations listed in the citations.

“We have five action items in the Cramer Accident Prevention Action Plan. To date, the agency has made progress on all of the items and has nearly completed one since Jan. 6. We will have the majority of the items incorporated into the wildland fire community before this year’s fire season in the west.

“In addition to a USDA Inspector General investigation, the regional office (Ogden, Utah) has begun an investigation into the conduct and performance of employees in charge of suppression efforts during the Cramer Fire.

“The Forest Service will continue to work at all levels--firefighters, fireline supervisors, fire program managers and line officers--to make changes in the way it fights wildfires and improves safety to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.”