Thursday, February 14, 2013

Forest Service, Idaho Agency Hit With Fines Following Probe Into Firefighter's Death

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Six months after a 20-year-old Moscow woman was killed while battling a wildfire near Orofino, the U.S. Forest Service and the Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protection Agency have been fined more than $14,000 for violations in connection with her death.

Anne Veseth of Moscow was killed when one tree fell and crashed into another tree, causing it to fall in a domino effect. The tragedy occurred while Veseth was battling the Streep Corner Fire on Aug. 12, 2012.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation, leading to citations and fines. Among the several violations listed in OSHA's report were: failure to keep crews informed of weather reports and not knowing what the fire was doing at all times. The report also pointed to "communication problems" and inadequate "maintaining control of workforces."

But a spokesman fro the U.S. Forest Service said they disagreed with the findings and will issue their own safety investigation report later today.

"It's 180 degrees different than OSHA," Rick Brazell, supervisor of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, told the Lewiston Tribune. "[The Forest Service's report] found no one did anything wrong and it was a more intensive investigation than OSHA."

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