The California Wildland Firefighter Memorial (CWFM)

The California Wildland Firefighter Memorial (CWFM) is a tribute to firefighters that have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting wildland fires in the State of California.

Conception came about in 1995 when a group of retirees, fire survivors, CAL FIRE, and USDA Forest Service sought to repair and replace missing markers from the Decker Fire of 1959. This fire killed 6 firefighters within the Santa Ana Mountains above Lake Elsinore.

This Memorial is located along its dedicated highway, the Ortega Highway between Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano. A Forest Service picnic area is adjacent to the Memorial, where Highway 74 and the South Main Divide Road intersect.

California Wildland Firefighter Memorial

After the 1995 ground breaking ceremony, several concepts for the Memorial arose. All aspects are coordinated partnerships with the USDA Forest Service, CAL FIRE, Orange County Fire Authority and CWFM committee members.

Presently the Memorial site consists of a circular area containing a red brick Maltese cross in the center with a rock wall behind in a semi-circle. Picnic benches and tables are placed around the perimeter with native plants integrated into the Memorial area. The serene tree filled area promotes the tranquility that inspires the Memorial.

Fire plaques on the rock wall give the fire name, county, year and number of fatalities for each fire. Engraved paver bricks with private dedications complete the Maltese cross foreground.

All funding for the Memorial is derived solely from donations, contributions, and service partnerships. Now completed, the Memorial will be maintained through donations and endowments.

Together lets honor and acknowledge California’s wildland firefighters that have lost their lives in the line of duty protecting our lives and property. There have been over 200 wildland firefighter fatalities in California.

All donations are welcome for the Memorial and will receive a commemorative pin. Any donations $100 or more are eligible for a brick inscription of their choice. See sample brick below. We appreciate your contributions. Thank you for the help.

Additional Resources

Cal Fire