22 Aug 2009, 6:21pm
In Memorium
by admin

Accident Takes Life of Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Employee

NEWS RELEASE — Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, August 21, 2023 [here]

Baker City , OR – August 21, 2009: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest employee, Steven A. Uptegrove, 52, was killed Thursday morning when he was struck by a falling snag. Uptegrove was part of a forest crew assisting the Baker County Narcotics Enforcement Team with the eradication of an illegal marijuana garden on national forest lands south of Unity, Oregon.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident,” said Steve Ellis, Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor. “Our thoughts and our prayers are with the Uptegrove family during this difficult time.”

The accident occurred on the West Fork of Bull Run Creek where forest crew members were bundling sling loads of trash for helicopter transport. Efforts to revive Uptegrove were unsuccessful.

“Our hearts go out to Steve’s family and friends. He is well-known and loved by many. We in the Forest Service feel a deep sense of loss,” said Mary Wagner, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester.

Uptegrove was a career Forest Service employee having worked over 30 years in the fire program. He has worked as the station lead and engine foreman in Unity since 2006. “Steve was a professional wildland firefighter, a positive, always cheerful member of the Burnt Powder Fire Zone, and a leader and teacher of firefighters at Unity,” said Noel Livingston, Fire Management Officer for the Burnt Powder Fire Zone. Prior to working in Unity, he worked on the Prairie City Ranger District on the Malhuer National Forest. He also worked for the Payette, Willamette, and Deschutes National Forests.

The accident is under investigation by Federal, state and local authorities.

Steve is survived by his wife, Hope, who currently resides in Baker County, Oregon.

For additional information contact Judy Wing, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Public Affairs Officer, 541-519-4623.

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