September 23, 2020 | 8:22 p.m. PDT
A heavy equipment operator passed away on the Archie Creek Fire in Western Oregon. The Incident Management Team announced September 23 the death of Walter (Wally) Samuel Elsbury, Jr., who was found unresponsive in his vehicle at a staging area September 18, 2020 before he began his shift.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded and notified Mr. Elsbury’s family. No foul play is suspected.
Mr. Elsbury, of Elsbury Logging Company in Burns/Hines, Oregon, had been working on the fire for about a week as skidgeon operator. He was helping to protect structures along Little River Road south of Glide on the west flank of the fire.
“The Bureau of Land Management, Umpqua National Forest, and Douglas Forest Protective Association are deeply saddened over Mr. Elsbury’s death,” said Incident Commander Mike Dueitt. “We want the Elsbury family to know our Incident Management Team, the firefighting community as a whole, and the residents along Little River Road are forever grateful for the work Wally did to protect homes from the Archie Creek Fire. Our condolences to you for the loss of your loved one.”
The fire has burned 131,000 acres since it started on September 8.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.