20th Anniversary of South Canyon Fire - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

20th Anniversary of South Canyon Fire

Posted: Updated:

Just more than 20 years ago the South Canyon Fire in Colorado took the lives of 14 firefighters. The fire was a turning moment for firefighters and wild land agencies.

"I'm a survivor of the South Canyon Fire of 1994," said Tony Petrilli.

To this day, Petrilli has a hard time talking about the South Canyon Fire of 1994 that killed 14 firefighters on Storm King Mountain in Colorado.

"It's a situation no firefighter wants to be in, a sometimes tough to share the story," Petrilli said.

12 firefighters, and two other helitack firefighters perished when they were unable to outrun the blaze after it crossed the fire line.

"The South Canyon Fire has been a pretty pivotal moment in firefighting and the wild land agencies," Petrilli said.

He now works at the Missoula Technology and Development Center, which works to create new technologies for the U.S. Forest Service to improve safety for all workers.

"It's definitely put safety for firefighters more in front in their own minds, as well as how to manage fires," Petrilli said.

One of the main changes made after the fire is the design of the fire shelter, which Petrilli helped to design.

"It increased level of protection quite a bit from the old style," Petrilli said.

Up until 2002 the fire shelters had a triangular shapes. Now the shape and materials are different, and there's an extra layer of material.

 "It performs well in a radiant heat environment," Petrilli said.

The new shelter has saved 21 lives since 2003. After more than 19 firefighters died after using their smoke shelter's in the Yarnell Hill Fire last year, a review committee is already working to make further improvements on the fire shelters.

"A lot of safety changes have been made in last 20 years, and we'll keep making improvements into the future," Petrilli said.

The review committee is going to start looking for ways to make a safer smoke shelter. They said if they do find a way to make changes, an updated shelter will be released by 2017.

 

  • NationalMore>>

  • Obama declares Washington wildfire emergency

    Obama declares Washington wildfire emergency

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:46 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:46:35 GMT
    Wetter, cooler weather has helped firefighters make progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire in Washington state's history under control.
    Wetter, cooler weather has helped firefighters make progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire in Washington state's history under control.
  • Teacher slaying suspect in court on assault charge

    Teacher slaying suspect in court on assault charge

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:46 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:46:27 GMT
    A Massachusetts teenager charged with killing his teacher last year after following her into a bathroom similarly followed a worker at a youth detention facility into a locker room last month before choking and...
    A Massachusetts teenager charged with killing his teacher last year after following her into a bathroom similarly followed a worker at a youth detention facility into a locker room last month before choking and beating...
  • Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:36 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:36:05 GMT
    After two days of jury selection, lawyers are poised to give opening statements in the trial of a Detroit-area man who opened his front door and shot an unarmed woman, killing her.
    A Detroit-area man who killed a young, unarmed woman on his porch heard "boom, boom, boom" at least four separate times before he opened the door and shot her in the face.
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: Search and Rescue Efforts Continue for Flathead Kayaker

    UPDATE: Search and Rescue Efforts Continue for Flathead Kayaker

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:04:28 GMT
    The search for a missing kayaker will continue Monday on Flathead Lake, it's surrounding shores and the Flathead River, after he's been missing for more than 24 hours.
    The search for a missing kayaker will continue Monday on Flathead Lake, it's surrounding shores and the Flathead River, after he's been missing for more than 24 hours.
  • Bugg Road fire near Tonasket

    Bugg Road fire near Tonasket

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:29:21 GMT
    KHQ.COM- UPDATE: The Bugg Road fire burning 7 miles east of Tonasket, WA and has destroyed one structure and expanded to 1,700 acres on Tuesday.This fire started on Monday and by the end of the day had burned 1,000 acres. Air support and dozers are trying to keep the fire in check.
    KHQ.COM- UPDATE: The Bugg Road fire burning 7 miles east of Tonasket, WA and has destroyed one structure and expanded to 1,700 acres on Tuesday.This fire started on Monday and by the end of the day had burned 1,000 acres. Air support and dozers are trying to keep the fire in check.
  • Update: Semi Removed, Lanes Reopen After Chemical Spill Near Bonner

    Update: Semi Removed, Lanes Reopen After Chemical Spill Near Bonner

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:08:00 GMT
    Emergency officials, including health department personnel, are on scene of a semi rollover east of Missoula.
    Emergency officials, including health department personnel, are on scene of a semi rollover east of Missoula.
  • Bozeman Scuba Divers Explore Yellowstone Lake

    Bozeman Scuba Divers Explore Yellowstone Lake

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:38 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:38:22 GMT
    Montana is known for its outdoor recreational and adventure sports.There's everything from whitewater kayaking to extreme mountain biking.
    Montana is known for its outdoor recreational and adventure sports.There's everything from whitewater kayaking to extreme mountain biking.
  • INCREDIBLE drone video shows fire destruction over Pateros/Brewster

    INCREDIBLE drone video shows fire destruction over Pateros/Brewster

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:51 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:51:52 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Chelan HD Productions has given us permission to show this incredible video they shot with a drone surveying the damage done from the Carlton Complex Fire in the areas of Brewster and Pateros. This video is truly jaw dropping and really shows the level of destruction from the fire.
    KHQ.COM - Chelan HD Productions has given us permission to show this incredible video they shot with a drone surveying the damage done from the Carlton Complex Fire in the areas of Brewster and Pateros. This video is truly jaw dropping and really shows the level of destruction from the fire.
  • Many Frustrated By Stalled Cobell Settlements

    Many Frustrated By Stalled Cobell Settlements

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-07-17 01:30:30 GMT
    In Congress Wednesday, the group in charge of doling out Cobell settlement claims says it's waiting on setting exact amounts and a judge's okay before making the rest of the payments.
    In Congress Wednesday, the group in charge of doling out Cobell settlement claims says it's waiting on setting exact amounts and a judge's okay before making the rest of the payments.
  • Look At All The Cute Pet Pics!

    Look At All The Cute Pet Pics!

    Friday, May 31 2013 1:11 PM EDT2013-05-31 17:11:30 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Alright all you pet lovers, we are on a hunt for the cutest pet picture out there! Do you have an adorable picture of your pet? We want it!
    KHQ.COM - Alright all you pet lovers, we are on a hunt for the cutest pet picture out there! Do you have an adorable picture of your dog, bird, bunny, gerbil, rat, snake, fish, cat, pig, horse, cow, hermit crab, goat, sheep, lizard...eh...you get the picture. We want THAT picture! >>>SEE ALL THE CUTE PET PICS INSIDE THE STORY>>>
  • So Good: Fast Pitch Duo of Ray and Walker

    So Good: Fast Pitch Duo of Ray and Walker

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-07-16 23:57:19 GMT
    After being some of the state's best for separate teams in different cities, Frenchtown's Morgan Ray and Deer Lodge's Dani Walker have combined forces on the Montana Avalanche Fastpitch softball team.
    After being some of the state's best for separate teams in different cities, Frenchtown's Morgan Ray and Deer Lodge's Dani Walker have combined forces on the Montana Avalanche Fastpitch softball team.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.