Bill Gabbert’s death announced by his family

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We are saddened to share that Bill Gabbert, founder of Wildfire Today/Fire Aviation and a friend and colleague to so many in our profession, passed away last night. His family shared that Bill  died peacefully in his sleep yesterday evening in Senatobia, Miss.

Our thoughts are with Bill’s family. We will share more on Bill’s life in the days ahead.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

39 thoughts on “Bill Gabbert’s death announced by his family”

  1. In the “old forestry” we never said goodbye. We parted by saying, “Keep ‘em small.” Keep ‘em small Bill and thank you.

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  2. I first crossed paths with Bill Gabbert around 1990, when we both were creating Wildland firefighting web pages. I think that we both understood the potential of web based information with regard to wildland fire management. Bill ran with it and the rest is history. Bill will be missed.

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  3. I am deeply saddened for the loss to Bill’s family, and for our loss. Bill is no doubt in a place of light and peace. It’s just hard to lose such a great man. I am glad Wildfire Today will live on, and all his archived work will be available. it’s a monument to his intelligence, hard work, dedication and caring.

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  4. Fair Winds and Following Seas Bill, condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed. Long live Wildfire Today.

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  5. I discovered Bill here, and far too late. Never met him in person, but that’s my loss. Love and respect to his family and friends everywhere. What a valuable service he provided–a hard worker par excellence.

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  6. Just saw Bill’s passing. What a loss. The number of condolences as well as their content and more importantly, the love expressed for this fine, fine man says it all.

    He was a real treasure. Smart as a whip and an astounding corporate memory, coupled with all the brilliance and tenacity of a true investigative journalist, that was his calling card. The good he did in staying focused over years on true issues and the pressure he was able to exert through his media and his very presence was nothing short of immense.

    That and his steel trap mind allowed him the ability to cut thru agency bullshit and hold them accountable; it was picture perfect and will be sorely missed.

    His perfectly understated but clear analysis of the “target” puts him right there at the top of the heap of journalistic genius. It is only after a watchdog is no longer here to keep and share SA with a bark on the latest deal going down, that you know what you’ve lost. Journalistic watchdog of the first degree and par excellence. Damn!!

    We will miss you, Bill. I will miss you a lot. Take care, wherever you are, bro’

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  7. There are many names carved into the walls. But I think that number would be even more, were it not for Bill Gabbert.

    Too many to ring a bell for each, we rang one for all.

    Rest in peace, Bill Gabbert.

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  8. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I have been reading Wildfire Today for many years and really enjoyed his articles. Although I don’t live in wildfire territory, I learned a lot from him. Many prayers for his family.

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  9. Bill was an outstanding leader in the Wildland FF community. He became the voice about so many issues. He asked questions that needed to be asked of the Bureaus and bureaucrats and pointed out the details ignored by others. He questioned actions and decisions from a perspective of knowing expertise.

    From Hotshot to Park & Zone FMO to PSC with the Teams and Area Command. And yes, he could compose, write and edit. He was an exceptional classic Planning Section Chief.

    Wildfire Today/Fire Aviation are a personal professional contribution to the contemporary record and literature of all things wildfire. Both will continue to serve all of the Wildfire Community.

    He gave a venue to discuss important matters for all WL FFs. A pleasure to work with on project fires and hurricanes and a long time friend.

    As we ride the Black Hills, particularly Wind & Jewel Cave we will see your work on the landscape.

    Gone but never forgotten, still much to do and many more miles to ride!

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  10. We will all miss Bill. I used his posting regularily during drills to emphasize a training point or concern. He brought so much information out to help us all. Wildfire Today is a true asset to the fire community and that community lost a great teacher.

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  11. Bill was very much the true professional, those that knew him will attest to that quality, I will miss his stories about his career, especially his time on ECHS. I guess I took for granted that he would always be here to run WFT…..I will miss him very much……
    Take time for family and friends, this journey that we are on is short, so make the best of every moment……Peace…..

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  12. God Bless, Bill and all of his family and acquaintances. He made it his lifes work to describe what the wildland fire service really was/is. RIP my friend.

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  13. He was my FMO on my first fire season. That I’m still doing this 29 years later speaks to his leadership. RIP.

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  14. Devastating. This was one of the very few trusted voices in our field that spared no expense to deliver truthful and relevant commentary and information.
    My deepest thoughts and gratitude to Bill and his family.
    Filling these boots will not be a simple task.

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  15. So sorry to hear of Bill’s death. Worked with him on fires in Yellowstone. We have lost a great man!!!

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  16. I didn’t know Bill, but I’ve been reading WT regularly and enjoying his commentaries for years. As an environmental educator/natural history interpreter I’ve learned so much about fire ecology and science that’s filtered down into my work, and have a much, much bigger appreciation for fire professionals and the work you do for all of us. My sincere condolences to Bill’s family, friends and colleagues. May his memory be a blessing.

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  17. Honored to have served with Bill on many NPS incidents. Always a team player who brought his “A” game every time. Rest in peace my friend. Sincere condolences to Bill’s family.

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  18. im sorry to see this, that disease is so aggressive. rest in peace Bill ! you will be missed. condolences to his family.

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  19. I am very sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I always appreciated his writing style: He spoke his mind and spoke the truth, especially in regard to Wildland Firefighter safety.
    Rest in peace, Bill. Condolences go out to Bill’s Family during this difficult time.

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  20. Very sorry to hear about Bill’s passing. He will always be a very important figure for the Wildland fire community and was a great help/supportive my case against USFS Management.

    RIP Bill, you more than earned it

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  21. Bill, you gave a voice to so many in this community who otherwise never would have been heard. I’m so thankful for everything you have done and the legacy you’ve left for the wildfire community and beyond. My life is far better for having met you and you inspire me to be a better leader, firefighter, and activist for this community each and every day. My condolences to you, your family and friends. Thank you and rest in peace.

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  22. Thanks for doing what you did Bill. I imagine it was a lot of work. Your site really started the trends we are seeing today that’s ultimately leading to better working/living conditions for Forestry techs, firefighters and our families. We’ll carry on behind you!

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  23. I WILL MISS SO MUCH A COMPLETE STRANGER TO ME – but he has done so much to help me feel either safe or unsafe in my immediate environment with his unfailing updates and hard work in providing so much information about disasters and dangers. May his family remember only his goodness – one of the best people in this crazy world!

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  24. As a follower and frequent contributor from the beginning Bill (Dr.Gabbert) was on target each time and every time. I don’t know how he was so entuned. Yes, I will miss his articles!
    On several occasions Bill had to e mail me and get me back on center line, that was an honor. As a follower I am sure Mr. Gabbert and I would like to hear a great and factual storyteller Bill Waldman contributions in the future. See you on the other side. RIP.

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  25. He did so much to share the news of the wildland community and to educate those interested in it. He will be sorely missed on these pages.

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  26. A friend and a gentleman with a wicked sense of humor. I will miss his presence and his voice.
    Rest In Peace.
    Abrazos,
    Pie Gal

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  27. I’m so sorry, Ron. My thoughts go out to his family. I only knew Bill at a distance, but he was one of those people who seem like they’ll be there forever. Even from outside the woodland firefighting community, I could see that his contribution and his commitment were unparalleled. I know he’ll be missed and remembered.

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  28. My son is an EMT and a Lt Firefighter. Since he began this profession, I found “Wildfire Today” and have read every entry over these past several years. I am saddened to learn of Mr. Gabbert’s death and want to extend my thanks for the commitment he held in his profession along with the reports I never missed. My thoughtful support goes to his family and many friends…..

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  29. My husband, Bill Waldman, and I are so very sorry for the passing of Bill. He gave so much to the woodland fire community. Prayers for his family.

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