Tags: new mexico | firefighter | missing | 5 days

New Mexico Firefighter Missing 5 Days After Checking on Smoke

Image: New Mexico Firefighter Missing 5 Days After Checking on Smoke

By Newsmax Wires   |   Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 09:10 AM

Search teams continue to search Wednesday for the missing New Mexico firefighter who vanished 5 days before while checking on a report of smoke near Jemez Springs.

Engine crew Capt. Token Adams, who was on an ATV, failed to return to a pre-arranged meeting point with two other firefighters, The Associated Press reported.

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, 41.

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The terrain — tall ponderosa pines, thick brush in many places and steep cliffs with 200-foot drop-offs — has made the search difficult.

"Obviously our concern is that something might have happened while he was in the area," U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Karen Takai said. "We have not found the ATV."

However, searchers remained hopeful because Adams, who grew up on the edge of the Sierra National Forest in California, is an experienced outdoorsman with extensive survival skills. Takai said he would have been carrying a pack with enough food for a few days and plenty of water.

Adams, a Navy veteran and a former member of the Kings River Hotshots in California, has worked in the Jemez Ranger District in northern New Mexico for more than a year. Officials said he knows the area well.

Authorities said search teams were focused on Holiday Mesa, where the last communication was received from Adams.

"We've had people in the air, people on horseback, we've had ground-pounders and we've even had the dogs out and we just have not found any indication that he's been in the area," Takai said.

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