Firefighter injured by falling tree after water drop

Treated at hospital and released

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Canyon Fire
Canyon Fire as seen from the Sunol Ridge 1 camera at 2:37 p.m. June 23, 2022

A Fremont, California firefighter was injured Thursday while working on the Canyon Fire northeast of the city near Sunol in Alameda County. The Fremont Fire Department said Thursday night that “the firefighter was hit by a falling tree after a water drop operation. Thankfully the firefighter was released from the hospital this evening and is expected to be ok.”

A reporter from KPIX TV, @KatiePPIX, said another firefighter was transported to a hospital for a heat related injury after working in “near triple digit temps.”

The spread of the fire was stopped after it burned 71 acres. Firefighters were assisted by helicopters and air tankers.

In the second video below, a large Type 1 helicopter can be seen making a drop on the Canyon Fire.

On May 29, 2022 three firefighters were injured when struck by water dropped from a large Type 1 helicopter on the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire in New Mexico. They were not injured directly by the water, but were knocked onto boulders by the force of the drop. It occurred while they were crossing a steep rocky piece of ground consisting boulders two to three feet in diameter, according to a preliminary report. The most seriously injured had multiple surgeries to repair facial fractures and a broken kneecap.

In 2018 three firefighters were injured and one was killed by falling tree debris resulting from an air tanker retardant drop. The accident occurred on the Ranch Fire which was part of the Mendocino Complex of Fires east of Ukiah, California.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Firefighter injured by falling tree after water drop”

  1. I was on a huge slash burn of a clear cut on the Mt. Hood National Forest in 1979 lighting the edges with a drip torch. A helo was dripping napalm (I was told) in the center areas. There was so much smoke and roar from the fire, I didn’t see the helo come right to my line until the last second. It was dripping fire which splashed and spread. I ran for my life and got jabbed by a staub. Shoulder bruise, but sure scared the hell out of me.

  2. I wish him a speedy recovery–terrible.

    I’ve been rained on by flaming pitch, but so far have been spared a water drop (and unless it hits me in my backyard, I’m not likely to be). However, I have witnessed a flattened hardhat where a logger’s skull used to be, had a friend killed in his USFS pickup by a falling tree, narrowly been missed by a big ponderosa branch, and was on a fire where a TBM hit a mountain, all in the last century, of course.

    I’ve done a lot of looking up, but I know how preoccupied one can get on the fire line.

    As I’m doing a study of tree failures and condition assessment, I’d be interested in any details. Was the tree broken off, uprooted, or ?


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