Several media outlets are reporting that a wildland firefighter died while he was off duty at a fire camp. Matthew David Goodnature, 21, of Phoenix, Oregon was found by another firefighter Tuesday evening, July 29, near Four Mile Lake on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Oregon. Mr. Goodnature was assigned to the Launch Fire and apparently took a walk away from the camp where an accident occurred.
According to Newswatch 12:
Detective Nick Kennedy with the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case, and said he cannot draw any conclusions until his investigation is done. However, it appears that Goodnature tripped on a large rock and fell backwards. Scruff marks and other traces indicated Goodnature fell on a log that struck him on the small of his back. Detective Kennedy said it appears he died of a broken back.
Mr. Goodnature worked for Pacific Oasis Wildland Firefighting out of Ashland, Oregon.
We offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends,and co-workers.
Previously this year, there have been a total of six wildland firefighter fatalities: one aviation accident (plane crash) and five medical emergencies (heart attack). All six were either state or local jurisdiction employees.
Thanks and a hat tip go out to Jeff.