Honoring those who lost their lives in the White Draw Fire - KOTA Territory News

Honoring those who lost their lives in the White Draw Fire


One year ago four North Carolina Air National Guard members lost their lives while fighting a fire in the Black Hills. On Monday at the memorial dedication, family, air national guard members, and firefighters honored those who lost their lives.

It was a day to remember those four Air National Guard members who lost their lives fighting the White Draw Fire.  

"It's absolutely tremendous and such a moving tribute I think to the crew of MAFFS–7, those four that perished a year ago as well as a tribute to the two that survived," said Major General Gregory Lusk, North Carolina Adjutant General.  

Jim Strain, of South Dakota Wildland Fire says firefighters hold a personal commitment to other firefighters.  

"In light of what happened here last year at this time and what happened yesterday in Arizona, 19 other firefighters dying, you have that personal commitment to the respect of the family and survivors to be there for them," said Strain.

Strain says firefighters are put in dangerous situations and lately there have been more fires.  

" You can't minimize that risk to an acceptable degree, unless you are always trained and ready to be safe at all times and everybody was and accidents still happen," said Strain.

The memorial is two miles away from the crash site where the four air national guard members will be remembered.  

"The people of South Dakota and of North Carolina are forever bound together now because of this event. Not only because we did eventually have a successful outcome of the White Draw fire, but just this tribute that will be here for eternity," said General Lusk.

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