'He's loved and will be missed' - firefighter who died battling El Dorado Fire identified

BIG BEAR, Calif. (KABC) -- The firefighter who died while battling the El Dorado Fire in the Inland Empire has now been identified.

Charles Morton was a Big Bear Interagency Hotshot squad boss who had been with the Forest Service for 14 years out of an 18-year firefighting career.

The 39-year-old was killed while conducting fire suppression on the blaze last Thursday, Sept. 17.

"Charlie was a well-respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew at the toughest times," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. "Our hearts go out to Charlie's loved ones, coworkers, friends and the Big Bear Hotshots. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers."

He started as a firefighter in 2002 with the California Conservation Corps at the Butte Fire Center in Magalia and then joined the Forest Service in 2006.

The family released a statement: "Charlie is survived by his wife and daughter, his parents, two brothers, cousins, and friends. He's loved and will be missed. May he rest easy in heaven with his baby boy."

Cards and condolences may be sent to the Morton family at: P.O. Box 63564, Irvine, CA 92602. For FedEx and/or UPS: 1 League # 63564, Irvine, CA 92602 in care of "Support for Charlie."

The El Dorado Fire has been burning since Sept. 5 in the San Bernardino National Forest and is estimated at 22,588 acres with 60% containment. The cause of the fire has been linked to a pyrotechnic device used at a gender reveal party.

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