Search continues for N.M. firefighter -- updated

-A A +A


The search for a U.S. Forest Service firefighter missing in northern New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest has entered its seventh day.

Volunteers, firefighters and search and rescue teams have been combing mesa tops and steep canyons east of Jemez (HAY'-muhs) Springs in search of Token Adams.

The 41-year-old engine crew captain disappeared Friday while checking on a report of smoke. He was on an ATV and failed to return to a pre-arranged meeting point with two other firefighters.

Hundreds of people have participated in the search.

Officials say crews are focused on 25 square miles of rugged forest. About a quarter of the area has been covered by ground crews, while air support has searched much of the rest.

A special helicopter with infrared and low-light sensors is scheduled to arrive Thursday.

According to a release from the Forest Service, the specialized helicopter has cameras as well as infrared and low-light sensors.  Its low-light sensors and transmission equipment can transmit images to search crews up to 30 miles away.  Search teams use a gridding technique to ensure that all areas are covered thoroughly before eliminating and moving to a different area.  Air and ground search areas overlap.

The release also said the mother of Token Adams, Ietake Anderson, visited the Incident Base Camp this morning.  She spoke to search crews and thanked them for their hard work.

Firefighter Jesse Sievers, a Los Alamos native, worked with Adams on the Kings River Hotshots and the Sierra National Forrest from 2003-2006. 

“We would part ways for the next few years before we would randomly reunite in my hometown in 2011,” Sievers said. “Ironically, my family is from Los Alamos and in 2011, Token ended up on an assignment fighting the Los Conchas Fire.  He was able to give me a heads up on the evacuation and was a huge comfort to my family and friends during the fire. 

Token Adams is a true hero of the Los Alamos community. Token is a veteran firefighter who has fought fires in nearly every corner of the country.

“Token's broad experience landed him a detail on the helitack crew in Los Alamos in 2011. His first major response on the Santa Fe National Forest was fighting the Las Conchas Fire that forced the second mandatory evacuation of Los Alamos. After contributing to the successful suppression of the Las Conchas fire, he fell in love with NM and moved to the Jemez with his family the following spring. He has been protecting Los Alamos and our beloved Jemez mountains from wildfires for the last two years as a captain for the U.S. Forest Service. Thoughts and prayers for our community hero and his family. Please keep your eyes and ears open if you are out and about.”