Welcome to our “Always Remember” website

Although we at RedZone Intel have revamped and taken over the daily logistics of running this website, and like to refer to it as “our” website, please let us first explain how we would like to define “our”. The original Always Remember website was started by Mellie Coriell and Steve Myers, along with others in the wildfire community that are passionate about the work we do, and the people who risk their lives to do it. We share this passion and have known the pain of losing people we know and love in the line of duty. Wildland firefighters are a special breed of people that do an essential job. That job also happens to be rather dangerous. Like any group of people who work in a stressful and hazardous profession, we depend upon each other and thus, tend to become very close to one another. We like to think of ourselves as a family. We all feel the pain when we lose firefighters in the line of duty, whether we personally knew them or not, because they are a part our family.

We would like this website to be a place for all of us in the wildland firefighter family to remember those we lost, both recent or long ago. We invite those closest to the firefighters that we honor here to contribute personal stories of not just the tragic incident, but things about their lives that the rest of us would not otherwise know. So, when you visit, or contribute to “our” website, we invite you to feel that you are considered to be part of “our” website. This website is for all of us in the wildland firefighter profession, the survivors of those who have fallen and most of all, a place for the memory of those we have lost to live on.

Always Remember provides a permanent website to collect, organize, maintain, preserve, and share current and historical incidents in which wildland firefighters paid the ultimate price and lost their lives. Our objective is to remember our fallen firefighters, their service to our country, and to honor their family’s loss by ensuring that their loved ones did not die in vain. By
documenting factual information from each incident, we can pass along the lessons learned from their lives and the events that led up to the incident that caused their tragic loss. Although they may be gone, they are not forgotten. They continue to serve in their profession by passing valuable information on to those wildland firefighters who may find themselves in similar dangerous situations. We hope that in sharing the information we accumulate on this website, those lessons learned may help save lives in the future.

We want to create a space with this website that focuses on how we can make our jobs safer in the future, rather than a site to assign blame for events of the past. Reasonable accountability should be addressed in a fatality or serious injury accident, but far too often the focus becomes emotional and tends to scrutinize the acts of one individual or agency. The “cumulative act effect” (also known as the swiss cheese model) propounded by James T. Reasons of the University of Manchester, is a readily accepted model of accident causation. It is based on the hypothesis that a serious incident is caused by a number of factors that line up in a “perfect storm” manner. Any one of these factors can be removed and the likelihood of the accident becomes less likely to occur. Human nature has a natural tendency toward being emotional and to focus blame on one particular factor, individual or agency. We at Red Zone would like to examine the big picture of events leading up to the accident, to better analyze how the incident occurred, and how we may prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

There are a wide variety of websites on the Internet where it’s possible to find information on incidents resulting in the loss of life of wildland firefighters. The ownership, content, maintenance, and reliability of each site varies wildly. The objective of Always Remember is to provide a place to research and collect only the factual information that can be verified. We then intend to share it in a user-friendly manner to honor the fallen and to foster a lessons learned discussion from the incident.

Aside from passing on the lessons we learn from a fatal accident, our main focus is to memorialize those in our family whom we have lost. With that in mind, allow us to pay homage to those individuals, who originated this website, for just that purpose. Always Remember was developed and created by Mellie Coriell and Steve Myers with the help of J. Benshoof, Joe McDonald and a host of other wildland firefighters. Some of the fact-finding and discussion of historical incidents involved the wildland fire community participating on the Hotlist Forums. Information on firefighter fatalities in Line of Duty Deaths (LODDs) was collected, filed and archived for a number of years by Mellie Coriell. The process of researching the web format and collecting additional information on wildland firefighter fatalities for a website began in the Winter of 2007. Steve Myers obtained a webhost and created the original look and function of the website. Creation of the original website began in September of 2010. J. Benshoof added data entry and Joe McDonald identified fatality locations. The site went public in March of 2011.

Our goal at RedZone Intel is to continue the diligent work that the original Always Remember website founders put in. By doing so, we hope that the wildland fire community will continue to have a place where the lessons learned from past fatal events are not forgotten, and help ensure they are not repeated. We invite those persons closest to the fallen, or the incident, to become part of “our” website by contributing factual information regarding wildland firefighting accidents. Most of all, we hope to honor our fallen heroes with a website that reminds us of those family members we have lost along the way, who they were, what they liked to do and who they left behind.

Thanks for visiting and stay safe out there!
The Always Remember Staff

Fair use disclaimer: We believe content posted here to be ‘Fair Use’ of any cited copyrighted material for educational and discussion purposes and to advance awareness and understanding of issues relating to firefighter safety, lessons learned, just culture, civil rights, economics, individual rights, and liberty. For more information, see Section 107 of US Copyright Law that provides for ‘Fair Use’ of such copyrighted material. Please contact us if you are the copyright owner of material posted here and you feel it falls outside the boundaries of “Fair Use”.

How You Can Help: Our strongest hope, which is being realized daily, is that the wildland fire community will continue to step forward to help find, collect, and contribute information for this website. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to see how you can participate.