We're deeply saddened by the recent passing of John Hammack, (58 as reported by The Oregonian and 60 as reported by The Washington Post), of Madras, a firefighter who lost his life while working a recent fire in the Mt. Washington Wilderness near Dugout Lake. Hammack, a longtime logger, and his crew partner, Norman Crawford, both sustained injuries from a snag as it dropped to the ground. Hammack died at the scene, Crawford was transported St. Charles Medical Center and later released. Hammack and Crawford were working for R&K Water Services of Bonney Lake, Wash.
In Central Oregon, where wildfires are abundant, we are infinitely grateful for all the brave men and women who choose to battle such blazes. Hammack will not be forgotten. And to those who continue to fight fires in Central Oregon and beyond, we salute you.
Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center officials couldn’t immediately recall the last time a Central Oregon firefighter's life was lost, but say it was likely in 1994 when 14 Prineville Hot Shots were killed while fighting a fire in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
The Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center has responded to roughly 70 fires in the last week. Most continue to be staffed, though the majority of the fires have been suppressed, COIDC officials say. The largest remaining fire is the Green Ridge blaze, 13 miles northwest of Sisters, which has consumed 420 acres. It is now 30 percent contained.
As wildfires continue to burn, we will remember John Hammack—rodeo star, father, grandfather, brother, logger and firefighter.