Sacramento, CA — State and federal investigators say firefighters failed to allow themselves sufficient escape routes while fighting a fatal wildfire that overran an elite seven-member helicopter squad last fall.
As a result, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighter Eva Schicke couldn´t out-climb the wildfire up a steep slope to a safe zone a mere 35 feet away.
Accident investigators say firefighters failed to take the steepness of the slope or the speed of the fire into account. Schicke died five feet from safety.
The star college athlete was the department´s first female firefighter to be killed in the line of duty when she died in the Stanislaus National Forest. Three other firefighters were injured.