USFS Battalion Chief killed in vehicle accident

He was returning from an assignment on the Sierra National Forest in California.

A firefighter was killed August 31, 2017 in a vehicle accident in California. Gary Helming, a Battalion Chief with the Los Padres National Forest in southern California, was returning from a wildfire on the Sierra National Forest.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration a Ford F-350 traveling in the opposite direction suffered a tire failure, crossed the middle of the road, and struck Chief Helming’s vehicle head-on.

The accident occurred on Highway 41 just south of state Route 33 in Kings County, California.

Our sincere condolences go out to Chief Helming’s family, friends, and coworkers.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Allen and LM.
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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “USFS Battalion Chief killed in vehicle accident”

  1. Sympathies also in the direction of the other driver, Antonio Avalos. I called the hospital in Fresno tonight and OF COURSE they can’t share any details, but let’s just hope he’s okay after this horrific accident, eh?


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