The search for missing New Mexico firefighter Token Adams has entered its fifth day with no sign of the missing California native as 250 people continue to comb the Santa Fe National Forest in tough weather conditions.
Adams, 41, a former Navy SEAL and a current engine captain with the Santa Fe-based Jemez Ranger District, went missing Friday afternoon after being dispatched to scout a wildfire.
Adams had not responded to any calls on his radio since Friday, U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Helmich told the Albuquerque Journal. Helmich described Adams as an experienced firefighter who had the equipment and capabilities to handle his situation.
Jemez Ranger District spokeswoman Linda Riddle said Adams had experience with forests as a firefighter in Florida. She said he was familiar with the terrain he was scouting, but also noted that the land makes it “easy to get turned around,” according to the Journal.
A search crew of 250 people scoured the Santa Fe National Forest over the holiday weekend in hopes of finding the missing firefighter, according to Albuquerque NBC affiliate KOB. Adams was riding on an ATV to estimate the wildfire’s perimeter when he went missing. The search crew includes officials with the Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico State Police, New Mexico State Search and Rescue, the Carson National Forest, the National Guard and friends of Adams.
Adams’ last contact was calling his wife at around 1 p.m. local time Friday. The phone call hasn’t assisted efforts in finding him, however, Helmich told the Journal.
Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT said weather conditions on Tuesday are hampering the search for Adams, with rain and hail derailing efforts.
"We've covered all of the easy terrain. We have traveled all of the roads multiple times. We are now sending crews to survey between the roads," Riddle told the television station.
U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Karen Takai said the search has faced intermittent suspensions due to the weather.
"This storm passing through is going to have a pretty heavy impact," she told KOAT.
Takai said officials are concerned about the health of the search crew, including possible hypothermia.
"The number one thing is the lightning and the thunder and the condition in the condition in the forest is extremely dangerous in case lightning does hit a high tree and spiral down so we have a lot of issues with that and we are just concerned with hypothermia," she said.
Adams is a native of Coarsegold, Calif., and graduated from Yosemite High School, according to Fresno television station KMPH. He moved to New Mexico about one year ago.
A friend of the missing firefighter told KMPH that Adams’ wife is expecting a baby. He also has a son.