The memorial for fallen firefighter Dave Ruhl begins on Sunday with a 1:00 pm procession starting at the Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Cathedral. The procession moves down 5th street to a 2:00 pm visitation at the Rapid City Civic Center. Memorial services at the Civic Center begin at 3:00 pm.
A funeral at the Cathedral follows on Monday at 10:00 am. Ruhl is set to be interred at Black Hills National Cemetery.
Ruhl served as a wildland firefighter and for the Black Hills National Forest. He died while fighting the Frog Fire in California, one of many on-going fires raging across that state.
Dave Ruhl served in the Mystic Ranger District in the Black Hills as an engine captain. He was sent to California on temporary assignment to help battle the major fires there. Ruhl died while working as an Assistant Fire Manager on the Frog Fire in the Murdoc National Forest. He was 38 years old. He lived in Rapid City with his wife and two children.
Scott Jacobson with the Black Hills National Forest calls this a loss for the entire community.
“Just a sad day for all of us in the Black Hills and for that matter all of the Forest Service and the firefighting community," Jacobson says. "Dave was a great guy and respected by many and just had a great passion for the work that he did. He was just really kind of a quiet guy, but he was just always there for others and had so many friends around the country and a lot of folks that are very impacted by this."
On July 30th a search and rescue began when contact could not be made with Ruhl. The search continued throughout the night until he was found deceased the next morning. Officials are holding back on further details until the Forest Service investigation is complete.
Jacobson says between 1,500 to 2,000 people are expected to attend the procession, memorial service, and funeral on Sunday and Monday.
A fund is being set up in Ruhl’s name.