50th anniversary of the Loop Fire commemorated

Loop Fire memorial

Above: Hundreds of firefighters from municipal and wildland departments attended the 50th anniversary memorial for the Loop Fire tragedy in Sylmar Tuesday. Present were the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, US Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and many other agencies.

November 1 marked the 50th anniversary of the day that 12 wildland firefighters perished on the Loop Fire. The El Cariso Hotshots were constructing fireline on the Angeles National Forest in southern California in 1966 when the fire blew up below them.

Yesterday hundreds of people attended a commemoration event held at El Cariso Regional Park in Sylmar, California. Having been on the crew four years after the disaster, from 1970 through 1972, I wish I could have been there. But Stuart Palley, an accomplished fire photographer, was, and he took these excellent photos and wrote the captions. Thanks Stuart for allowing us to use them here.

Loop Fire memorial
Gordon King, former crew supervisor for the El Cariso Hotshots, unexpectedly stepped forward to deliver remarks at the 50th anniversary ceremony of the 1966 Loop Fire tragedy. While speaking Gordon was overwhelmed by emotion and Cal Fire Riverside chief John Hawkins, left, and Angeles National Forest fire chief Robert Garcia, right, jumped forward to support and encourage King.
Loop Fire memorial
Sand Fire Burn area and El Cariso Hotshots memorial 50th Anniversary ceremony held at El Cariso Park in Sylmar, CA Tuesday November 1st, 2016. In attendance was CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott, USFS Fire and Aviation Director Shawna Legarza, and current and former El Cariso Hotshots. The memorial ceremony honored the 50th anniversary of the El Cariso Hotshots burn over at the Loop Fire in 1966 in the hills above the memorial park.
Loop Fire memorial
Current El Cariso crew during the Pledge of Allegiance and opening prayer for the 50th anniversary ceremony for the Loop Fire tragedy. A flyover of LA County helicopters also occurred.

Loop Fire memorial
Ed Cosgrove, former El Cariso Hotshot and survivor of the 1966 Loop Fire tragedy, speaks Tuesday at El Cariso Park in Sylmar during the 50th memorial ceremony for the fire.
Loop Fire memorial
Ed Cosgrove, center, along with other 1966 Loop Fire El Cariso survivors, listen to regional wildfire chiefs speak Tuesday at the 50th memorial ceremony for the tragedy.

Loop Fire memorial

Loop Fire memorial
An El Cariso Hotshot survivor of the 1966 Loop Fire watches speakers at the memorial ceremony Tuesday at El Cariso Park.
Loop Fire memorial
Captain Anthony Beigel of the USFS led the honor guard during the memorial for the El Cariso Hotshots Tuesday at El Cariso Park in Sylmar.
Loop Fire memorial
The Loop Fire memorial marker in El Cariso Park in Sylmar, CA.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

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