HEMET (CBSLA.com) — Thousands gathered at an outdoor amphitheater on Saturday evening to honor one of nineteen elite firefighters killed in a fast-moving wildfire in Ariz. last month.

Friends of Christopher Allen MacKenzie said the fallen firefighter had a gift for always lightening the mood. The 30-year-old was honored during a public memorial at the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater.

“His exuberance for life, if you call it that. His taking any moment and turning it into a good thing. That was just Chris,” said Aaron Lawson, a friend.

MacKenzie was also remembered as an avid snowboarder and outdoorsman who followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a firefighter.

“Chris had heart. He never gave up. He never gave in and never, not once, did Chris quit,” Clint Goepp, another friend, said.

MacKenzie worked for the San Bernardino County Fire Department before moving to the city of Prescott in Arizona.

He died on June 30, outside Yarnell, Ariz. Three other firefighters killed in Ariz. also had roots in California.


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