A memorial service was scheduled Friday for fallen USDA Forest Service firefighter Charles Edward Morton. Morton, a 39-year-old member of an elite Hotshot crew dedicated to fighting wildfires. He was killed on Sept. 17 while battling the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County.

The service is scheduled for 11 a.m. at The Rock Church located at 2435 S. Waterman Ave. in San Bernardino. 

The public is encouraged to attend the service virtually, which will be live streamed on the website of The Rock Church, their YouTube channel and the Facebook page for San Bernardino National Forest.

Morton, a San Diego Native, was only about a month past his 39th birthday, officials said. He started his career in 2002 with the California Conservation Corps at the Butte fire and move onto Firestorm Fire Suppression in Chico.

Morton spent 14 years with the Forest Service, starting in 2006 with the Truckee Interagency Hotshots on the Tahoe National Forest, officials said. Hotshot crews are highly trained firefighters often strategically deployed in difficult-to-access areas to help suppress flames.

“Charlie then joined the San Bernardino National Forest in 2007 and worked on both the Front Country and Mountaintop Ranger Districts, for the Mill Creek Interagency Hotshots, Engine 31, Engine 19, and the Big Bear Interagency Hotshots,” the statement read.

Morton’s family shared, “Charlie is survived by his wife and daughter, his parents, two brothers, cousins, and friends. He’s loved and will be missed. May he rest easy in heaven with his baby boy.”

A US Forest Service honor guard, along with the California Highway Patrol, escorted the fallen Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Morton in a solemn procession to a mortuary in Orange County on Sept. 22.

Cards and condolences may be sent to the Morton family at: P.O. Box 63564, Irvine, CA 92602. For FedEx and/or UPS: 1 League # 63564, Irvine, CA 92602 in care of “Support for Charlie.”

As of Friday morning, the El Dorado Fire had scorched 22,604 acres and was 81% contained.

The fire started Sept. 5 during a gender reveal party at which a smoke device was used. It spread quickly about 25 miles east of San Bernardino.

NBCLA’s Whitney Irick contributed to this report.


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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