Klamath National Forest fire lookout among those who died in McKinney Fire

·2 min read
Kathy Shoopman
Kathy Shoopman

A fire lookout who worked in the Klamath National Forest for nearly 50 years is among those who died in the McKinney Fire.

Kathy Shoopman died in her Klamath River home in the fire, the Klamath National Forest announced Monday morning. She was 73.

Shoopman is one of at least four people who have died in the fire.

Shoopman started her career as a fire lookout at Baldy Mountain west of Happy Camp in 1974.

Most recently, she had worked at the Buckhorn Lookout since 1993.

"She was really extremely familiar with the land and the communities," Klamath National Forest spokeswoman Jennifer Erickson said.

"She had just a very recognizable voice on the radio and she was a familiar voice on the radio for people who worked here in the Klamath National Forest. She was just a fixture here," Erickson added.

More McKinney Fire updates:

Shoopman won the Fire Lookout of the Year award for the Klamath National Forest in 2015.

Shoopman had lived in Klamath River for nearly 50 years and was an artist and gardener who loved animals, the Forest Service said.

"We share this sorrow with each and every one of you and we know that individually, and as the supportive community that we are, we will find a way to honor Kathy's life and service and keep her spirt in all of our lives," the Forest Service said in a news release.

Erickson said Shoopman is survived by her sister, Shirley Shoopman.

The McKinney Fire started July 29 and is the largest wildfire to date this year in California. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Shoopman is one of at least four people who have died in the fire.

As of Monday, the McKinney Fire was 60,379 acres and 40% contained, according to the Forest Service.

David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly "Buzz on the Street" column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-338-8323. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Klamath National Forest fire lookout among those who died in McKinney Fire