The first deaths have now been confirmed in the Santiam Fire, and one of the deceased is related to the founder of the beloved Willamette Valley theme park Enchanted Forest.
Search and rescue crews found the body of 12-year-old Wyatt Tofte this afternoon. He had been missing since Tuesday while trying to escape the blaze on foot. His grandmother, Peggy Mosso, also perished.
Enchanted Forest, which is located about 10 miles south of Salem, confirmed the fatalities on its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon:
“We are devastated to confirm that Wyatt Tofte has not survived. He was found a short while ago. Wyatt was Roger’s Great Grandson and is loved and adored by all of his family and friends. His grandmother, Peggy Mosso, was also taken. She was also a loved and important member of our extended family. We ask for privacy and love right now.”
Roger Tofte and his wife, Mavis, opened Enchanted Forest in 1971 after he purchased 20 acres of land off Interstate 5 and began to build attractions, one storybook figure at a time. The park grew in the years that followed, adding a Western-themed town and a roller coaster.
On Tuesday, the park posted photos of the fairy tale carvings bathed in an eerie shade of red as nearby smoke obscured the sun.
Wyatt Tofte's mother, Angela Mosso, is in critical care at Legacy Emanuel Hospital's Burn Center in Portland, the Salem Statesman Journal reports. The family's home just outside of Lyons was destroyed in the burn.