U.S. Forest Service

Luke Sheehy died June 10, the first federal firefighter killed on the job in California since 2009.

Memorial service planned for U.S. Forest Service smokejumper

Published: Friday, Jun. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 21, 2013 - 6:46 am

REDDING – Firefighters and public officials across the state are mourning the death of Luke Sheehy, 28, a U.S. Forest Service smokejumper who died June 10 working on a fire on the Modoc National Forest.

A memorial service scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday in Redding is expected to include an honor guard and a formal procession of engines and other firefighting equipment along the entry road to the Redding Civic Auditorium.

Forest Service and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials will be part of the service, which will include representatives of the smokejumpers who worked with Sheehy, a member of the Redding smokejumper crew since 2009.

Gov. Jerry Brown is among the officials who issued statements of condolence in Sacramento, where Capitol flags were flown at half-staff.

Sheehy was hit by a falling portion of a tree while working on the Saddle Back fire in the South Warner Wilderness about 15 miles southeast of Alturas.

He is the first federal firefighter in California killed on the job since 2009, when T.J. Marovich Jr. died during a rappelling exercise, said John Heil, press officer for the Southwest Region of the Forest Service.

Other smokejumpers remember Sheehy as a man of action. Whether it was hunting, fishing, dirt biking or logging, he was on the move, said Josh Mathiesen, a fellow smokejumper.

"His love of life and love of people made him easy to be around," Mathiesen said.

A Lassen County resident, Sheehy attended high school in Susanville and received a certificate from the Shasta College Fire Academy.

His candor and work ethic helped him excel as a smokejumper, Heil said. He helped train incoming smokejumpers and was an integral part of the state's federal smokejumper program, he said.

An honor guard accompanied Sheehy on Tuesday, when his body was flown from Alturas to the Susanville Airport.

The Redding memorial service will be limited to family, friends and the firefighting community, Heil said.

Sheehy is survived by his father, Doug, a musician, and his mother, Lynn, Plumas County's librarian.

Heil suggested that donations showing support for the Sheehy family be sent to Doug and Lynn Sheehy, 2850 Main St., Suite 12 #386, Susanville, CA 96130, or the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, Care of Sheehy Family, 2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705.

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Read more articles by Jane Braxton Little



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