Incident Name: Horns Mountain Fire in Washington, Colville National Forest
Date:  Incident date: 8/27/2018: Death date: 9/4/2018
Personnel:  Eric “Chris” Aarseth
Age:  20
Agency/Organization:  Miller Timber Serices, Inc; USFS
Position: Firefighter II

Summary: Firefighter II Eric Aarseth worked the Horns Mountain Fire in Washington on August 27 and was released at 6:00 p.m. On August 28, Aarseth was found unresponsive at his home in Oregon. Reports indicate that Aarseth developed pneumonia which became septic. Aarseth was treated at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Oregon, but was taken off life support on September 3 after suffering irreversible damage to his organs. Aarseth passed away early the following morning on September 4.

Eric Christopher “Chris” Aarseth

Eric AarsethEric Aarseth


Incident Location: Horns Mountain Fire near Northport, Washington (U.S. National Grid: 11U MQ 42732 18414 (DD: 48.916, -117.782))

died at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, OR; lat=44.081273, lon=-123.026573

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Miller Timber Services, Inc, September 4, 2018:Our hearts are heavy today mourning the loss of our firefighter, Eric Aarseth, who passed away. We stand with his family and friends who are saddened by this loss. It’s devastating to lose any member of our team and Eric seemed to have found his passion and purpose on the fire line. We’ll share memorial information as it’s available.
  • Pneumonia and other hazards on the fireline9/4/2018 | wildfiretoday.comBill Gabbert wrote this about Eric’s pneumonia:”The Centers for Disease Control reports that the incubation period of pneumococcal pneumonia is about 1 to 3 days. This makes it possible, or even likely, that Mr. Arseth was exposed to the conditions that led to the disease while still on the fire assignment or in travel status. This could be a line of duty death, an LODD.”

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Media Articles and Reports

  • Young FF Dies after Suffering Brain DamageOregon-based firefighter Eric Aarseth died after developing pneumonia which became septic upon returning from a wildfire in Washington.
    9/3/2018 | and

    A young wildland firefighter died Monday after he was removed from life support.

    Eric Aarseth, who worked as a contract firefighter with Oregon-based Miller Timber Services, was found unconscious by roommates on Aug. 28 after returning from a fire, according to

    According to his parents, the 20-year-old from Eugene developed pneumonia which then became septic at a Springfield hospital.

    “He thought he was okay, and kids at that age tend to be tougher,” Eric’s step-mother, Cheryl Aarseth, told the television station. “They don’t want to admit they’re sick, they don’t want to go to the doctor.”

    His parents decided to remove him from life support, saying that he suffered irreversible brain damage. reported that Aarseth died Monday.

    “He was so giving and always wanted to help people,” Eric’s father, Chris Aarseth, told the television station. “That’s the biggest thing. He wanted to help people however he could.”

    Aarseth spent his 20th birthday on the fire line, Miller Timber Service spokesperson Kelli Matthew said. He battled the Garner Complex Fire in Oregon before responding to the Horns Mountain Fire in Washington.

    “He may not have died out there in the fire, he’s still a hero,” said Cheryl Aarseth. “He lived the way he wanted to live and he was very determined to do what he wanted to do and help people no matter what the cost was.”

    His parents said Eric was an organ donor and his parents want his legacy to live on.

    A memorial has been established in Eric’s name.

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • USFA Memorial Database: Eric Christopher Aarseth
  • Facebook: In memory of Eric “Chris” Aarseth
  • Facebook: Cheryl Lyn Aarseth’ celebration of her son and memories
  • Obituary: Eric Christopher Aarseth

    Eric Christopher Aarseth

    date of birth July 17 1998

    date of death September 3 2018

    “Had a great run”. That’s the way Eric described the last group of photos that he had forwarded to family and friends from the final fire he was deployed on.

    Eric Christopher Aarseth, 20, of Tualatin Oregon, a Wildland Firefighter passed away Monday, September 3rd at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon due to complications from pneumonia contracted during his last deployment on the Horn Mountain Fire in Northeastern Washington. Eric had spent the summer months employed by Miller Timber fighting wildfires at various locations throughout the northwest, including the Garner Mountain complex fire in southern Oregon. Eric truly found his passion and calling when he joined the wildland firefighting crew. Eric felt a deep sense of pride in his work and accomplishments, working to protect people and property. Everyone agreed that he was happier and more engaged then than he had ever been in his life.

    Eric was born in Portland on July 17th, 1998 and grew up in Tualatin, where he graduated from Tualatin High School in 2016. He valued hanging out with family and friends but his true love was for outdoor activities. He played soccer, baseball, football and he wrestled. Eric savored each opportunity for camping, hiking, biking, rafting – anything that kept him outside and active. One of his favorite summers was working for Northwest Youth Corps helping to rebuild sections of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in the wilderness area of Idaho.

    Eric is survived by his mother Lisa and his brother Jake, both of Tualatin, his grandparents Carl and Gloria Davis of Bend, uncle’s Matt Davis and Tony Springer of Phoenix, Arizona and countless friends in the Portland, Corvallis and Eugene areas where he was a student at Lane Community College, as well as friends and fire crew at Miller Timber. He is also survived by his father Chris and wife Cheryl of Scappoose.

    Eric was adamant that if something should happen to him it was his desire to be an organ donor so that he could continue to help others. With the assistance and guidance of the Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank that wish was fulfilled.

    The family wishes to especially thank the doctors and nurses in the ICU unit at PeaceHealth Hospital for their loving and compassionate care of Eric in his final days, Lee Miller and his crew of wildland firefighters who became a part of Eric’s extended family and the staff at the Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank. The family is eternally grateful to all of you.

    In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Eric may be made to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation at or mailed to 2049 Airport Way, Boise, Idaho 83705.

    A Celebration of Life will be held within the next month after details and location have been established.

    Live each day to the fullest, just as Eric did. He will be greatly missed.

  • Miller Timber Services, Inc:A Celebration of Life will be held for Eric Aarseth on Saturday, September 29, 2018, from 4:30-6:30pm at Hayden’s Lakefront Grill located at 8187 SW Tualatin-Sherwood Rd in Tualatin, OR; lat=45.381940, lon=-122.761212
  • Chris’ Obituary and Celebration of Life plans from Cheryl Lyn Aarseth’s Facebook page:A Celebration of Life will be held in honor of Eric Christopher Aarseth at Augustana Lutheran Church, 2710 NE 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97212, on Sunday, September 30, 2018 @ 2pm. All who would like to honor Eric, are welcome to attend this Celebration of Life.

Eric AarsethEric Aarseth

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Contributors to this article:  Mellie


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