PHOTOS: Twenty years ago, on July 28, 2002, three firefighters—Heather DePaulo-Johnny, Steve Ousted and John Self—gave their lives in defense of the Lassen and Klamath national forests during the Stanza Fire of 2002. The fire began as a lightning spark in Stanza Creek and rapidly grew due to dry fuels and steep terrain, which made it hard to access and even harder to fight.
In response, the Forest Service dispatched a string of strike teams to monitor the fire in addition to providing any supplementary reconnaissance. A key part of the team, Lassen Engine 11 was tasked with a routine patrol on the night of July 28 before the engine veered off the road and slid into a steep embankment.
The crash killed three out of the five firefighters aboard Engine 11.