A procession will escort the body of a fallen firefighter from San Bernardino to Orange on Tuesday morning.

Charles Morton died Sept. 17 while battling the El Dorado Fire as a squad boss for the Big Bear Hotshot Crew, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The 39-year-old San Diego native started his career in 2002 and joined the San Bernardino National Forest in 2007. Highly trained firefighters make up hotshot fire crews, who are typically assigned to the “toughest part of a fire,” according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

Morton left behind a wife, daughter, his parents, two brothers, cousins and friends.

“He’s loved and will be missed,” his family said in a statement provided by the Forest Service. “May he rest easy in heaven with his baby boy.”

Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen described Morton as “a well-respected leader who was always there for his crew at the toughest times.”

The agency said cards and condolences may be sent to Morton’s family at P.O. Box 63564, Irvine, CA 92602. Fedex or UPS packages can be addressed to League #63564, Irvine, CA 92602 in care of “Support for Charlie.”

The California Highway Patrol and a U.S. Forest Service honor guard will start Tuesday’s procession at 10:30 a.m. at the San Bernardino County coroner’s main office at 175 S. Lena Road in San Bernardino. The route will proceed as follows:

  • South on Lena Road to Mill Street
  • West on Mill Street to Waterman Avenue
  • South on Waterman to 215 South Riverside Freeway
  • South to State Route 91 to Imperial Highway
  • South on Imperial Highway to Santiago Canyon Road
  • West on Santiago Canyon Road to Hewes Street
  • South on Hewes Street
  • Arrive at Ferrara Colonia Mortuary, 351 N. Hewes St., Orange

Authorities have not released further information about Morton’s death, the only fatality reported in the El Dorado Fire that’s still burning in the San Bernardino Mountain after erupting during a gender-reveal party at a Yucaipa park on Sept. 5.

As of Tuesday, the blaze has charred 22,588 acres and was 60% contained.


By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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