LOLO- Thursday was an emotional day for firefighters and members of the Lolo community who came together to honor the life of a firefighter killed in the 2017 Lolo Peak fire.
A special memorial will now stand forever to remember Brent Witham, who died nearly two years ago while on the fire lines of the 53,000-acre blaze.
Now, a stretch of Highway 12 in Lolo is named in his honor between mile markers 20 and 32. It's the same area the fire tore through 2 years ago.
On August 2, 2017, Brent Witham was a 29-year-old elite hot shot firefighter from Vista Grande, California. He was just doing his job fighting the devastating Lolo Peak fire when a fallen tree snag ended his life.
Nearly two years after that deadly accident firefighters, law enforcement, lawmakers and family gathered to honor his life with a permanent memorial to remember the work he and so many others did to protect this community.
"The fire line that Brent Witham gave his life constructing for us is the reason that the communities of Lolo and Woodman weren't destroyed,” said Lolo Council member Jennifer Schultz.
A community that wasn't even his home became his ultimate sacrifice. Hotshots and local firefighters today said the California hotshot's memory will on through the many lives he touched.
"The seeds he planted as a firefighter - the people that he trained, and mentored, and worked with - that seed spread too and as that forest regrows his memory will always be with us,” said Fire Prevention Specialist for Lolo National Forest Chris Johnson.
As the forest grows, Brent's Highway will run through these mountains as a memory forever.
"They named the stretch of highway the Brent Witham Memorial Highway, it's a neat place to be right by the Lolo Peak fire so that when folks drive by they can remember his sacrifice,” Johnson added.