Falling tree causes serious injury to firefighter

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On August 6, 2019 a 72-hour report provided information about a serious injury that occurred August 3 on the East Evans Creek Fire about 18 air miles north of Medford, Oregon:

“On August 3, 2019, at approximately 0230 (PST), a snag fell and hit a member of a 20 person hand crew that was building direct handline on the East Evans Creek Fire during initial attack. The firefighter struck by the snag sustained serious injuries to the head and facial regions.

“The hand crew, along with adjacent fireline resources, initiated an emergency extraction of the injured firefigther via SKED stretcher from the tree strike site on the fireline to a pickup truck, and then to a staged ambulance that was already enroute. From there, the injured firefighter was transferred to a Lifeflight helicopter and airlifted to a regional medical center for treatment.

“The injured firefighter remains in the hospital in critical condition, and a hospital liaison has been assigned to assist the family during this time.

“A Lessons Learned Review Team has been assigned, and is working with the Butte Falls Field Office and Oregon Department of Forestry in Medford to provide a review and detailed report of the incident. The intent of the review is to learn from the events surrounding this incident and prevent future occurrences.”

The August 9, 2019 National Situation Report had the East Evans Creek Fire listed as a suppression fire at 156 acres with 10 hand crews, 16 fire engines, and 5 helicopters for a total of 287 personnel.

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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.