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Firefighter killed battling 2017 Lolo Peak fire memorialized

Posted: 9:28 PM, Jul 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-18 23:28:56-04

LOLO – The memory of a California firefighter who died during Western Montana’s historic 2017 wildfire season was marked Thursday in Lolo.

Firefighter Brent Witham was killed by a falling tree while fighting the Lolo Peak Fire, which scorched thousands of acres and forced hundreds of evacuations in the Lolo and Florence areas.

Dignitaries, friends and family gathered Thursday morning in the Lolo Creek Steakhouse parking lot to unveil a marker designating a section of US Highway 12 in Lolo in Witham’s honor.

Among those on hand for the event were Montana state Sen. Diane Sands, former U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth and others.

Meanwhile, the young Missoula firefighter who was killed at the outset of the 2017 fire season — Trenton Johnson, 19, of Missoula — will be remembered Friday.

State and community officials named a section of Montana Highway 83 in his honor. That ceremony will start at 10 a.m. Friday next to Lindy’s Prime Steakhouse in Seeley Lake.