ENVIRONMENT

Token Adams, Missing New Mexico Firefighter, Found Dead In Santa Fe National Forest's Stable Mesa Area

In an undated photo released by the US Forest Service shows New Mexico firefighter Engine crew Capt. Token Adams. Hundreds of
In an undated photo released by the US Forest Service shows New Mexico firefighter Engine crew Capt. Token Adams. Hundreds of people fanned out across a rugged, forested area of northern New Mexico in search of Adams who has been missing since Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, but there was still no sign of him Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, evening. Engine crew Capt. Token Adams vanished while checking on a report of smoke east of Jemez Springs, where he lives with his wife and young son. Adams, who was on an ATV, failed to return to a pre-arranged meeting point with two other firefighters. Searchers have been scouring canyons and mesa tops, through heavy timber, brush and grass. Rain hindered the search Monday, but only light rain was reported Tuesday afternoon as some 250 people aided the effort to find Adams. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service)

By Zelie Pollon

SANTA FE, N.M., Sept 6 (Reuters) - Searchers in New Mexico found the body of a missing firefighter on Friday, a week after he disappeared in rugged wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest when he rode out on an all-terrain vehicle to check on a small wildfire.

The body of Token Adams, 41, was located by a Native American search team in an area of the forest called Stable Mesa, said David Shell, a spokesman for the national incident management team called in to aid the search.

His death comes amid a particularly tragic season for wildland firefighters, as dozens of large and fast-moving wildfires have raged across the drought-parched U.S. West this year, straining national firefighting resources.

Nineteen members of a squad of elite hotshot firefighters died in an Arizona fire in June, and last month in Oregon a firefighter died when a tree fell on him.

Adams, who was married with one child, worked as an engine captain for a fire crew at the Jemez Ranger District. He disappeared last Friday after he went out to check on a lightning-sparked in the Jemez Mountain District of the forest.

"They believe at this time that the cause of death was an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) crash," Shell said.

Adams had gone out to check on the blaze with two colleagues, but they separated with plans to meet later, Denise Ottaviano, spokeswoman for the Santa Fe National Forest, said earlier this week.

The fire that Adams and the other two firefighters were sent to assess was contained at 25 acres (10 hectares). (Reporting by Zelie Pollon, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Vicki Allen)

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