A veteran US Forest Service worker is the first publicly identified victim of the McKinney fire in Northern California.
Longtime Klamath National Forest Lookout Kathy Shoopman was remembered by firefighters Monday.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Klamath National Forest has lost one of its own,” the agency said on Facebook. “Kathy died at her home in the Klamath River community as a result of complications from the McKinney fire.”
Forest Service spokesman Tom Stokesberry told the Sacramento Bee Monday that she died in her home the day the McKinney fire broke out, but officials didn’t say exactly how she died.
Shoopman, 73, began her career in 1974 as a lookout at Baldy Mountain Lookout. Since then she has been an associate at Lake Mountain Lookout and most recently at Buckhorn Lookout, a position she has held since 1993.
She lived in the Klamath River community for nearly five decades.
“We share this sadness with each and every one of you, and we know that individually and as the supportive community that we are, we will find many ways to honor Kathy’s life and ministry and keep her spirit in all of our lives,” she said said the forest service.
The McKinney Fire has spread to more than 60,000 acres in California and is 55% contained.
The Karuk tribe said Saturday the fire appears to have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Klamath River fish.
The fire that burned west of Yreka killed four people. The other three have yet to be publicly identified.
Crews continue to search the area for other possible victims.
The wildfire wiped out the hamlet of Klamath River, reducing most homes and businesses there to rubble.
Firefighters also had to deal with muggy conditions, and firefighters said three people were treated for heat-related illnesses on Sunday.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, more than 11,500 forest firefighters and incident support personnel are deployed statewide.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://nypost.com/2022/08/10/california-forest-service-employee-kathy-shoopman-killed-in-mckinney-fire/ California Forest Service worker Kathy Shoopman was killed in a McKinney fire