Arrowhead Hotshot crewmember Daniel Holmes, 26, of Bellingham, Washington, was killed on Saturday when he was hit by a falling dead tree on the Grant West Prescribed Fire in Kings Canyon National Park.
Born on January 16, 1978 in Springfield, Massachusetts, Dan was the son of Raymond E Holmes, Jr. and Delina J. Burke. Dan, his mother, and his brother Matt moved to Rochester, New Hampshire, in 1984. Dan grew up in Rochester, graduating from Spaulding High School in 1996. An athlete all of his life, Dan played Babe Ruth baseball and later excelled as a varsity hockey and football player at Spaulding.
In addition to his love of athletics, Dan grew up enamored with everything related to the outdoors. He appreciated every aspect of wilderness, whether as an athlete snowboarding, mountaineering, and climbing or in his academic pursuits in which he went on to graduate from Johnson State College with a BA in environmental science.
In recent years, Dan accomplished many a boy’s dream by combining his outdoor adventures with his passion to protect the environment by becoming a ranger with the National Park Service. He sought the wild natural areas of the West to begin this latest chapter in his life, beginning his career at Mt. Rainier. He spent several years there, first volunteering as a backcountry ranger, then being hire to work on trail crews and serve as a wildland firefighter.
Dan became skilled at firefighting as his experience grew in the massive fires in the West. In 2003, he was selected to become a member of the National Park Service Arrowhead Hotshots, a crew which only selects the best of the best for fighting fires. Dan was with the crew when a large tree unexpectedly broke off during a firing operation and ended his too brief life. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and colleagues.
Members of his family include his mother, Delina J. Burke of Rochester; his father, Raymond E. Holmes of Westville Massachusetts; and his brother, Matthew Holmes of Tampa, Florida. He is also survived by his girlfriend, Jules Sautter, of Bellingham.
Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the Sierra Club or to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation in Boise, Idaho. For information on the former, go to https://ww2.sierraclub.org/membership/donate/ and click on “Commemorative and Memorial Gifts” on the left side of the page; for information on the latter, go to http://wffoundation.org/default.asp?page_id=1&parent_id=0
) and click on “Donations.”
Calling hours will be from 6 to 9 p.m. this Wednesday at the R.M. Edgerly & Son Funeral Home, 86 South Main Street, Rochester NH 03867.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 10 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 34 South Main Street, Rochester. Firefighters, rangers and others arriving in marked vehicles need to assemble at the Edgerly Funeral Home parking lot by 9 a.m. on Thursday for the short walk or motorcade to the church. Winter dress uniforms or clean and pressed firefighters uniforms should be worn. A reception with the family will follow the service.
For more on the Arrowhead Hotshots and a tribute to Dan, please go to http://www.arrowheadhotshots.org