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Missing California firefighter found less than a mile from campsite

The body of missing Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman was found, officials said Friday.

California firefighter Mike Herdman, an experienced backpacker, was last seen chasing after his dog on June 13. Herdman, an Arcadia firefighter, was last seen by a friend and fellow firefighter and paramedic Tyler Byars while on a backpacking trip in Los Padres National Forest. Barefoot and only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, Herdman was chasing after his dog Duke who had run away from their campsite.

On June 15 Byars made his way back to the trailhead to alert authorities. According to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean search crews logged 5,000 hours. Two drones and manned flights helped crews working by foot and horseback cover the 50 square mile search area. According to NBC News as many as 86 search and rescue volunteers had been looking for Herdman. Several sheriff’s departments and a team of special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were also involved.

A pilot who was transporting members of the search team located Herman's body on a rugged cliff area June 27. Herdman's body was only three-quarters of a mile and 1,200 feet above the river bottoms where he was last seen.

Dean stated searchers didn't focus on the area where Herdman's body was found, "Nobody could imagine that he was able to travel that far." According to Dean, the search focused on areas where Herdman could easily travel without shoes.

Firefighters from Arcadia, a suburb east of Los Angeles, looked for Herdman for more than a week, Fire Chief Kurt Norwood told KABC-TV. "We're glad that he was found, but at the same time we're sad that we lost a family member, so obviously we got heavy hearts here," Norwood said.

Herdman's dog, Duke, was seen by search crews several times during the search but was not caught until Sunday when a hiker saw the dog at the trail head.

Alexander Zielinski is a volunteer firefighter in Evansville, Indiana and a full-time firefighter in Providence, Kentucky. You can follow him on Twitter @FireSafetyAZ If you enjoyed this article leave a comment or click subscribe above to receive notification of future stories. Read a previous Fire Safety article: Firefighters: Inspect, test, write it down

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