About the Foundation

Our Mission

Wildland Firefighter Foundation’s main focus is to help families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families. We honor and acknowledge past, present, and future members of the wildland firefighting community, and partner with private and interagency organizations to bring recognition to wildland firefighters.

Wildland firefighters represent the diversity of the land they protect.  They are federal, state and local firefighters, private sector firefighters, interface firefighters, and volunteers from rural communities and towns across the United States.  Many are long-time career professionals, some much newer to the job. They’re ordinary people doing an extraordinary job, a community of committed individuals who work and train to protect our private and public lands.

We Are

  • Recognized as the organization that provides immediate financial and crisis assistance to families of fallen and injured wildland firefighters.
  • The organization providing recognition and honor to all wildland firefighters, past, present, and future.
  • Financially self-sustaining, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of its constituent supporters.
  • An effectively managed organization adaptive to an ever-changing environment.
  • An organization capable of immediately responding to situations that involve the loss or injury of a wildland firefighter.
  • An organization with programs that tell the story of fallen wildland firefighters so that preventable deaths are limited.
  • An organization partnering with agencies and others to work toward preventing line of duty deaths and provide timely safety messages.

Our Story

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation provides help to the families of wildland firefighters who have lost their lives or are injured in the line of duty.

The Foundation came together as a group of volunteers in 1994, shortly after the Storm King tragedy. With dedication and lots of volunteer work, plans were developed for a national monument to honor firefighters, a dream that was realized in May 2000. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation was officially formed in the spring of 1999. Our board members realized that there was a great need to have emergency support services for the families of fallen firefighters.

Active volunteers and supporters of wildland firefighters established the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a 501(c)3 to maintain the Wildland Firefighters National Monument at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.

Since 1999, the Foundation has also provided emergency support services to the families of firefighters, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. Families left behind, many with young children, often find themselves with few resources, and the Foundation steps in to help.

Our Goals

The Board of Directors and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is focused on developing realistic goals and objectives designed to guide the Foundation into the future. The following organizational goals have been identified:

  • Ensure the Foundation is fiscally viable to deliver financial assistance to families of fallen and injured firefighters.
  • Build partnerships with the wildland firefighting community to encourage stronger awareness of the Foundation and its services.
  • Continue to recognize and honor past, present, and future wildland firefighters.
  • Deliver programs and services that meet the needs of injured firefighters and fallen firefighter’s families.
  • Actively seek collaborations with agencies and other organizations to deliver safety messages that help stop preventable line of duty deaths.

We Will Never Forget

Foundation Operations Staff

  • Julie Christopherson

    Bereavement Advisor

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    Julie is a Grief Recovery Specialist licensed through The Grief Recovery Institute. She is also certified in Group Crisis Intervention and Assisting Individuals in Crisis. When people experience trauma, death or severe life stressors it is not uncommon for it to feel as if their lives are unraveling. Julie’s passion is to work to bring healing to the Wildland Firefighters and the families of those who have been through these experiences. Her hope is to help children, adults and families strengthen themselves and their relationships so they can find peace and know that they can still find happiness, know love and continue to live full, meaningful lives. In addition to her work at the Foundation Julie enjoys photography, fishing, and spending time with her family, especially her two grandsons Crosby and Oakley.

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  • Dina Pfeifer

    Operations Manager

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    Dina handles the administration, fiscal oversight and management of the day-to-day business operations for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Dina is dedicated to serving the wildland community, ensuring our mission is carried out effectively and efficiently. In her off time, Dina loves spending time with her husband and two beautiful daughters as well as creating and sewing quilts for fundraisers; including quilts for wildland firefighter families.

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  • Burk Minor

    Director, Outreach

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    Burk has been with the Foundation since 2003. He is currently the driving force behind the capital campaign to create and build the interpretive center. Burk spends much of his summer on the road at fire camp, pulling the WFF trailer to each site. He also represents the Foundation at varies conferences, regional meetings, and fire academies. Burk has become a big part of initial efforts to step in and help crews who lose one of their own, and he has reached out to children who have lost a parent. He connects very close with them as a single father of three. Burk sits on a Task Force Group that oversees the maintenance and ongoing inclusion of markers at the Willdand Fire Monument at the National Interagency Fire Center.

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  • Vicki Minor

    Founder & Executive Director

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    In 1987 Vicki Minor contracted with the US Forest Service to provide commissary units for remote incident command posts in the forest during fire seasons. Her business and love of the firefighter community grew as she provided dry goods and what was needed, to soften their harsh environment.

    While being involved with the forest fires Vicki felt the devastation not only to the land but the people who fought to protect it. As a result, Vicki founded the Wildland Firefighter Foundation in 1997 in an extra room in her home in the Foothills of Boise. After seeing the Vietnam Wall she dreamed of having a place for wildland firefighters to honor their dead and help them heal. She started the funding and spearheaded the building of the Wildland Firefighter Monument at the National Interagency Fire Center, in Boise, Idaho. Until then there was no place to recognize the efforts of all wildland firefighters. In a short time she had funded and obtained non-profit status for the Foundation, that not only serves wildland firefighters across our nation but reached its arms out internationally to help firefighters killed in wildfires in other countries.

    When CNN heard of her work at various burn centers she was nominated as a CNN Hero. She has also received the “Meeting American Needs Award,” from the Chief of the US Forest Service. She has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine twice and recently received national recognition by receiving a Mother Teresa Caring award given each year by the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C.

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Board of Directors

  • Todd Abel

    Board Member

  • Maggie

    Board Member

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    Over 37 years of service in wildland fire. She is currently the Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation and Regional Aviation Officer, RAO in Montana. Maggie is CSIM trained and looks forward to utilizing that training in service of wildland firefighters and their families

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  • Dave Crumb

    Board Member

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    Dave joined the United States Forest Service in 1983 after graduating from the State University of New York with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. During his career he worked for three regions and four national forests in a variety of fire suppression positions including; engine, smoke chaser, hotshot, helitack, and heli-rappel crews. In 2017 he retired from the USFS, finishing his career as the Helicopter Operations Specialist for the Northern Rockies Region. Over the course of his career the Wildland Firefighter Foundation has been vital in their support of numerous friends and coworkers and their families, helping them through the toughest of times. In retirement Dave looks forward to having the time to give back to this great organization.

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  • Renae Crippen

    Board Member

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    Renae Crippen has over 25 years in Wildland fire. She started her career as a firefighter and is now currently the Center Manager for Blue Mountain Interagency Fire Center in LaGrande, Oregon. The Fire Center includes a recently consolidated dispatch office, a Regional fire cache and a National tanker base. The Dispatch Center provides services for a land base of nearly 7 million acres and serves multiple Wildland Fire and Resource Management agencies.

    Renae’s focus throughout her career has been the safety of those she serves. A priority has been building and fostering relationships with the many agencies within the dispatch community to enhance emergency response coordination. Renae has accomplished this through writing agreements, operation plans, and developing processes and procedures to facilitate the mobilization of resources safely and efficiently.

    She has participated on many teaching cadres throughout her career to include dispatch classes, leadership, safety, emergency service coordination and peer support. Renae is always looking for ways to do the job more efficiently and safely through new opportunities in technology and dispatch innovation.

    Renae has been recognized for her leadership in the dispatch community and fire management for her work locally on the dispatch consolidation and emergency response plans. She has received the Regional safety manager’s special recognition award for developing a serious injury and fatality guide for Region 6. Renae is currently a Board Member of the Wildland Fire Fighter foundation.

    Renae lives in LaGrande, Oregon with her husband Willy who is also in Wildland Fire.

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  • Mark DeGregorio

    Board Member

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    Mark De Gregorio has served as the Education Program Manager at Rocky Mountain National Park since 1992. With the Park Service, he has lead all aspects of curriculum design, electronic media development, instructional delivery, evaluation, and community outreach.

    Prior to joining the National Park Service, he was the Environmental Curriculum Specialist for the Poudre School District in Fort Collins, Colorado. In that capacity, he served on the board of directors and as education chairman of Operation Osprey, a migratory raptor reintroduction project of the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. Mark was an adjunct faculty in the Education Department at Colorado State University, and a junior and senior high school science teacher in Fort Collins and Creede, Colorado.

    Mark is active in the community and currently serves as a citizen on the Larimer County Parks Advisory Board, with past appointments to the county’s Open Lands Board and its Environmental Advisory Board, and the board of directors of the Legacy Land Trust.

    Mark has a 40-year career in wildfire suppression, having received basic firefighter training in 1976. He worked as a seasonal forestry technician for the US Forest Service for eleven seasons as a helitack firefighter, and helped staff district and zone fire crews. He has past experience as a Type 2A Crew Boss and Type 4 Incident Commander. He continues involvement with fire suppression with Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams as an Air Operations Branch Director and Public Information Officer.

    He holds degrees in Forest Management and in Secondary Education from Colorado State University.

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  • Julie Quigley

    Vice President

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    Active in emergency management for 22 years and owner of Fire Dawg, a company that contracts with the U.S. Forest Service.

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  • Jan Gale

    Treasurer

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    Held executive positions in major oil and gas marketing firms, now a retired CFO. Her background includes extensive experience in financial reporting, governance, change and risk management, resulting in being honored with a President’s award for her efforts in 2005.

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  • Stephen Gage

    Board President

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    Retired U.S. Forest Service as the Assistant Director of Operations within Fire and Aviation at the National Interagency Fire Center. His fulltime fire service career spanned 46 fire seasons.

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