Trail Mountain Fire: Firefighter who lost father in Crandall Canyon Mine disaster helps protect dad’s memorial

Firefighter Dustin Jensen looks at a bench built to honor his father, Gary "Gibb" Jensen.

HUNTINGTON, Utah — The Crandall Canyon Mine Memorial remains “well protected” as the Trail Mountain Fire persists in the Crandall Canyon area of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

The 17,697-acre fire is now 73 percent contained, according to an update posted Sunday by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

In August 2007, nine men died in a pair of collapses at Crandall Canyon Mine.  A memorial, consisting of granite headstones and benches, was later built near the mine’s entrance.

Dustin Jensen, who is the Incident Technical Support Specialist for the firefighting team protecting the memorial area, has a special connection to the memorial.

According to the Emery County Sheriff’s Office, Jensen’s father, Gary “Gibb” Jensen, died in the second cave-in at Crandall Canyon Mine on August 16, 2007.

Gibb was one of the three rescuers who were killed in an attempt to save six other men who became trapped in the mine due to the first collapse, which occurred 10 days later.

On Saturday, members of the Sheriff’s Office accompanied Dustin to the memorial, where he spent a few solemn moments to reflect.

At the time of the visit, firefighting crews were working to put out hot spots nearby. An air support crew also dropped water on the ridge above the mine.

Fire crews worked Sunday to secure the road to the memorial and to “mop up” any remaining heat in the area.

Those planning to recreate in the area should be aware of the following closures:

Horse Canyon Trailhead, Indian Creek Campground, Little Bear Campground, Lower Little Bear Campground, and Riverside Campsite are closed. Highway 31 is open, but drivers are urged to use caution.