Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fallen Idaho Firefighter Lived the Life She Chose; Mother in Shock, but Says She Accepted the Risk: 'My Children Never Chose Sedate Office Jobs.'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fallen Idaho Firefighter Lived the Life She Chose; Mother in Shock, but Says She Accepted the Risk: 'My Children Never Chose Sedate Office Jobs.'

Article excerpt

MOSCOW, Idaho - Anne Veseth was a 5-foot-11 blond beauty who liked to dress up and go out with friends. She also was a trained auto mechanic and a forest firefighter.

Today, a huge crowd is expected for the funeral of the young woman who died last weekend when a tree fell on her while she was fighting a blaze in Idaho.

"Her cards were up," said mother Claire Veseth, 55, a nurse in this college town. "It was an act of God."

Fire officials are investigating the death. Veseth, 20, died as she and other members of her 20-person crew were trying to extinguish the 43-acre Steep Corner fire near Orofino. They were establishing and reinforcing a fire line on one perimeter of the blaze, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Phil Sammon said.

At least two federal investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration are on the scene in Orofino, looking into Sunday's death. An investigation could take up to six months.

Between 2002 and 2011, only two of 58 U.S. Forest Service firefighter fatalities came from hazardous trees like the one that killed Veseth. As of July 31, eight firefighters have died this year in wildland fire incidents, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Veseth was a Type 2 firefighter, one of the agency's thousands of seasonal employees dispatched to the nation's forests during the spring and summer fire seasons. The Forest Service said Veseth had completed the safety courses required of every person in her crew.

Her mother and three surviving siblings - Rachel, 26; Brian, 24; and Julia, 22 - gathered at the family home Thursday. Father Roger died in 2003.

Brian Veseth has been a forest firefighter for seven years, and he was approached by his sister in 2010 about getting a job. This was Anne's second year fighting wildfires, and she was assigned to a base camp near Orofino. …

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