Body of Missing Firefighter Located
July 05, 2011
OAKRIDGE — Lane County and U.S. Forest Service search crews have located and retrieved the body of Steven Dickerson, a 32-year-old Forest Service wildland firefighter, northeast of Oakridge in the Willamette National Forest.
There appears to be no indication of foul play in Dickerson’s death, officials said. Dickerson, of Oakridge, had left behind a note indicating that he was despondent, officials have said.
Dickerson was declared missing after failing to report to an out-of-state firefighting deployment on June 29. His body was found Sunday afternoon northeast of Grasshopper Mountain, officials said. Law enforcement personnel from four agencies, K9 tracking dogs and a helicopter participated in the search.
His body was found in a remote forest area with no trail access and very rough terrain.
About 35 Lane County and Forest Service employees spent most of Monday recovering the body, which was taken about 3 p.m. for an autopsy at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.
The case has been referred to the Lane County Medical Examiner’s Office and remains under investigation.
Forest Service officials said Dickerson’s family, friends and co-workers are supporting one another in handling the news of his death.
“We had all hoped and anticipated that Steve would pop out on a road after taking some time for himself in the woods that he loved and knew so well,” Willamette National Forest Supervisor Meg Mitchel said.
He was a valued member of the fire crew in his eight-year career as a firefighter at the Middle Fork Ranger District, the agency said.
“He was always there to help and would come up with new ways of doing things, which earned him the respect of his fellow crew members and our fire management staff,” said Jay Rasmussen, fire management officer for district.
Donations in Dickerson’s name are being accepted by the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation at www.firehero.org.