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Alternate Stand - Battlement Creek Fire Memorial, Parachute Rest Area

During the winter of 1997, the Parachute/Battlement Mesa Volunteer Fire Department decided to develop a memorial for those that were killed during the Battlement Creek Fire. The project started by placing memorial markers at the location where the pilot and firefighters died. Not knowing whether the persons that died were religious, it was decided that drip torch cans would make the perfect markers for those that died while performing the burnout operation and a simple flag pole and plaque at the location of the T56 air tanker crash would be appropriate. A flag pole was also erected at the site of the burnover to mark the site and make the location more visible to those who could only view the area from the county road below.

During the summer of 2000, it was decided to have a more formal memorial placed where more people could learn what happened during the summer of 1976. Working with the State of Colorado Department of Transportation and the town of Parachute, permission was granted to erect the memorial at the Parachute Rest Area. Working with a company in Arizona, the memorial sign board was created and built using both word and drawings. An area artist developed the concept of the memorial using plants native to the area of the burn with a snag from the fire area serving as the centerpiece. Tools were placed at the memorial similar to what would have been used at the time as well as the propeller hub that was recovered at the base of the impact slope in dense brush.

The families of those that were killed were contacted early into the project. They helped with information regarding their loved ones prior to the events of July 1976. Three families were able to attend the memorial; two of the three families were escorted up to the actual sites. With this memorial, it is hoped that those that were killed on those two days will never be forgotten and for years to come, will serve as reminder to those that visit this memorial to be ever vigilant in their training and watchful in their situational awareness as firefighters continue to fight wildland fires into the future.

Battlement Creek Fire Memorial in the Parachute, Colorado Interstate 70 rest area. The actual fatality site is in the distant background.