Honoring the sacrifice of fallen U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Brent Michael Witham, both houses of the state legislature have passed a resolution to rename part of State Route 38 in San Bernardino County in his memory.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 32, by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), designates the portion of State Route 38 between Mill Creek Bridge and Mt. Home Creek Bridge near Mentone as the "United States Forest Service Firefighter Brent Michael Witham Memorial Highway."
A resident of Mentone, Witham lost his life on Aug. 2, 2017, when struck by a falling tree while working on the Lolo Peak Fire in western Montana. He was 29.
Witham began his firefighting career in 2011 as a member of the Tahquitz Hand Crew based in Riverside and was assigned to Station 56 near Mountain Center in the San Jacinto Mountains in 2013.
In 2015, he became a member of the Vista Grande Hotshots based in the San Bernardino National Forest, one of the elite, 113 Hotshot crews in the U.S. tasked with the challenging job of either hiking or being airdropped to remote areas of the wilderness to fight fires, usually with just the equipment they can carry.
Witham is survived by his father, Mark Witham; his mother, Donna Giordano; his stepfather, Dave Giordano; his sister, Janelle Giordano Bell; his grandparents, Ken and Donna Witham; and his uncle and aunt, Douglas and Linda Witham.
Nearly two years since his passing, Witham is remembered by his fellow firefighters and loved ones who honor his memory annually.
"It's a privilege to author this resolution and memorialize this young man for his bravery," said Morrell. "Our nation's firefighters put themselves in some of the most dangerous situations to keep all of us safe. Placing his name along the highway will help ensure his courageous and selfless legacy lives on."