Missing N.M. firefighter has ties to Deep East Texas

Token Adams (Source: Facebook)
Token Adams (Source: Facebook)

NEW MEXICO (AP) - Search and rescue crews in New Mexico are still looking for a firefighter who once worked in Texas' Sabine National Forest.

Token Adams, 41, of Jemez Springs, N.M., went missing in the Santa Fe on August 30, when he left on an ATV to check out a report of smoke. Adams failed to return to a pre-arranged meeting point with two other firefighters.

Ernie Murray, a spokesman for the National Forest Service, said Adams worked in the Sabine National Forest from April 2008 to February 2010. Adams still has friends in the Deep East Texas area.

Adams' last Facebook status update said, "Well, day 8 on the Millville fire in Utah, feels good to finally take a shower, back at it tomorrow … Tis the season."

On Wednesday, Adams' wife, Heidi Adams, thanked the volunteers, firefighters, and search and rescue teams that have been scouring mesa tops and steep canyons in search of Adams, an engine crew captain.

Forest Service officials said Wednesday that they were using search dogs, people on horseback and National Guard helicopters were assisting with the search. They also said they ordered a special plane with infrared capability has been ordered as well.

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.

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.

A regional team was expected to take over the search, and the New Mexico National Guard was helping with at least one Blackhawk helicopter.

A benefit account has been set up for Adams' family at the Angelina County Federal Employees Credit Union at the intersection of Pershing Avenue and Southwood Drive.

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