WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2015 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement regarding the loss of three U.S. Forest Service firefighters near Twisp, Wash. An additional U.S. Forest Service firefighter and two Washington State Department of Natural Resources firefighters also sustained life threatening injuries.
"On Wednesday night, we received the news that three U.S. Forest Service firefighters lost their lives battling a wildfire near the town of Twisp, Washington. We mourn the loss of the brave firefighters whose commitment to duty was so deep that they gave their own lives to protect others. We also extend our profound sympathies to the families and loved ones of the fallen, whose sacrifices are equally worthy of honor, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are recovering from injuries sustained in the line of duty. As we press on through an extraordinarily challenging wildfire season, we are reminded yet again of the perils our firefighters face as they protect communities from wildfire. Our firefighting personnel have been particularly hard hit this year and we've lost several lives. We continue to mourn for them and offer support to their families. On behalf of the American people, thank you to those who keep us safe."