Firefighter fatality on Mendocino Complex of Fires

(UPDATED at 8:22 a.m. PDT August 14, 2018)

Officials on the Mendocino Complex of Fires reported Monday night that a Utah firefighter who was working on the incident was killed in an accident. No other details or the identity of the person has been released.

Fact finding is ongoing and notification of next of kin is in progress.

We send out our sincere condolences to the firefighter’s friends, family, and co-workers.

The sender of the tweet below is in Draper City, Utah.

It has been a tragic summer in California. Five other agency employees or contractors have died in the line of duty in the last month while working on wildfires in the state:

-Andrew Jason Brake, a heavy equipment mechanic, died August 9 on the Carr Fire.
–Don Ray Smith, contract dozer operator, of Pollock Pines, CA, on the Carr Fire July 26.
–Redding fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke, Fire Inspector for the Redding, CA Fire department, on the Carr Fire July 26.
–Brian Hughes, Captain on National Park Service Arrowhead Hotshots, Ferguson Fire, July 29.
–Braden Varney, CAL FIRE Heavy Fire Equipment Operator, July 14, Ferguson Fire.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

CAL FIRE employee killed on the Carr Fire in Northern California

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, CAL FIRE, announced that a heavy equipment mechanic for the agency was killed while assigned to the Carr Fire near Redding, California. Andrew Jason Brake died August 9 due to a single vehicle accident while assigned to the fire that has burned 177,000 acres west of the city.

From the Sacramento Bee:

Brake was headed north on 99, just south of Tehama Vina Road in Tehama, when the road made a slight curve to the left, California Highway Patrol officer Ken Reineman said. Brake “failed to maintain his path,” drifted off the road to the right and hit a tree. His vehicle, believed to be a pickup truck, was engulfed in flames, Reineman said. Brake died in the vehicle fire, Reineman said. The crash occurred at 12:17 a.m., he added.

Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Brake’s family, friends, and co-workers.

Four other agency employees or contractors have died in the line of duty in the last month while working on wildfires in California:

–Don Ray Smith, contract dozer operator, of Pollock Pines, CA, on the Carr Fire July 26.
–Redding fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke, Fire Inspector for the Redding, CA Fire department, on the Carr Fire July 26.
–Brian Hughes, Captain on National Park Service Arrowhead Hotshots, Ferguson Fire, July 29.
–Braden Varney, CAL FIRE Heavy Fire Equipment Operator, July 14, Ferguson Fire.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom and Paula.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Firefighter killed on Ferguson Fire identified

The National Park Service has identified the firefighter who was killed Sunday morning July 29 while battling the Ferguson Fire on the Sierra National Forest in California west of Yosemite National Park. It was Captain Brian Hughes of the Arrowhead Hotshots.

The incident occurred just before 9:30 a.m.  Captain Hughes and his crew were engaged in a tactical firing operation on the east side of the fire. In  an area with a large amount of tree mortality, he was struck by a falling tree. Captain Hughes was treated at the scene, but passed away before he could be transported to a hospital.

Captain Brian Hughes
Captain Brian Hughes. Photo courtesy of Brad Torchia.

A second firefighter killed on the Ferguson Fire

Another firefighter has been killed while working on the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park in California.

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Sunday morning July 29 while battling the Ferguson Fire on the Sierra National Forest, a Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park firefighter suffered a fatal injury.

The incident occurred just before 9:30 a.m. At the time, the firefighter and his crew were engaged in a tactical firing operation on the east side of the fire. They were operating in an area with a large amount of tree mortality. The firefighter was struck by a tree. He was treated on scene, but passed away before he could be transported to a hospital.

“The team at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is devastated by this terrible news,” says Park Superintendent Woody Smeck in a statement released July 29. “Our deepest condolences go out to the firefighter’s family and loved ones. We grieve this loss with you.”

Further public information will be made available once the firefighter’s family has been notified.

The firefighter was escorted to the Stanislaus County Coroner’s office in Modesto, Calif., Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

The Ferguson Fire has burned over 54,000 acres since it started July 13, 2018.

Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was killed July 14, when his dozer rolled in steep terrain on the Ferguson Fire.

On July 26 two firefighters were entrapped and killed by the Carr Fire near Redding, California.

Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of all four of these firefighters.

Death count rises to five in Carr Fire

The two firefighters killed have been identified

The number of fatalities on the Carr Fire rose to five Saturday when officials confirmed that two young children and their great-grandmother were found dead. James Roberts, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4, were stranded with Melody Bledsoe, 70, when the fire ran through the family’s property July 26 outside Redding, California.

To see all of the articles about the Carr Fire, including the most current, click HERE.

That same day two firefighters were also killed at approximately 6:40 pm when a dramatic increase in fire behavior occurred on the east side of the Carr Fire. Entrapped in a burn over were a call when needed contract dozer operator, Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines and Redding fire Inspector Jeremy Stoke who had been with the Fire Department since 2004.

Also on July 26 three firefighters from Marin County were injured on the fire. They were treated at a hospital in Redding for burns to the ears, face, and hands, the department’s release said. One is receiving additional evaluation at the UC Davis Burn Center.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families, friends, and co-workers of these eight victims.

Carr Fire burns into Redding

Two firefighters have been killed while fighting the fire

(UPDATED at 6:16 p.m. PDT July 27, 2018)

perimeter Carr Fire
Map showing the perimeter of the Carr Fire (the red line) based on an infrared mapping flight at 12:34 a.m. PDT July 27, 2018. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:36 p.m. PDT July 27, 2018. Click to enlarge.

To see all articles about the Carr Fire on Wildfire today including the most current, click here.

Some people think this rotating column fit the definition of a “fire tornado”:


(UPDATED at 4:25 p.m. PDT July 27, 2018)

An Associated Press reporter has counted at least 125 homes destroyed by the Carr Fire at Redding, California. The official count from CAL FIRE is 65 structures destroyed.

To see all articles about the Carr Fire on Wildfire today including the most current, click here.

Over 800 California National Guard personnel are assisting statewide in a variety of ways. The National Guard is also operating a Reaper Unmanned Aerial System, or drone, that provides real time imagery to help firefighters on the ground to make better decisions.

At least two California National Guard C-130 aircraft have been activated and outfitted with Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems (MAFFS), able to drop up to 3,000 gallons of retardant.

Many areas around Redding are under mandatory evacuation orders.


(UPDATED at 10:09 a.m. PDT July 27, 2018)

CAL FIRE, the National Park Service, and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office announced at 7:15 a.m. Friday July 27 that a second firefighter has died on the Carr Fire near Redding California. Pending notification of next of kin, they have not released the person’s name, only that the firefighter worked for the Redding Fire Department.

Earlier Friday morning CAL FIRE reported that a contractor operating a dozer had been killed.

An update at 8:10 a.m Friday from CAL FIRE included the information that the Carr Fire has destroyed 65 structures, but did not indicate whether any of them were residences. The agency is now calling it 44,450 acres, up from the 28,000 figure released Thursday night.

The weather forecast for the northwest side of Redding for Friday calls for 102 degrees, heat index of 108, single-digit relative humidity, and variable winds 3 to 13 mph. Similar conditions are expected through Monday. The lack of strong winds and zero chance of thunderstorms is good news for firefighters, but the heat and low relative humidity will continue to be a problem. A Red Flag Warning is in effect Friday for the fire area.

Continue reading “Carr Fire burns into Redding”