Six firefighters injured in Southern California

They were all transported to hospitals

Updated 11:39 a.m. PDT June 8, 2022

The inmate firefighters who suffered burn injuries June 7 in Southern California were all in stable condition when the LA County Fire Department posted an update on Twitter at 3:11 p.m. PDT June 7, 2022.

“A flash fire occurred in the back of an inmate camp crew vehicle,” the tweet said. “Six patients were transported to hospitals w/mild to moderate burns & all are currently in stable condition. Incident is under investigation.”

From NBC4, at 8:30 p.m. June 7, 2022:

One inmate was treated for critical injuries at a burn center with burns covering over 12% of his body, but officials say he is expected to be ok. The other five inmates suffered minor injuries.

The inmate firefighters were in the back of a transport vehicle leaving a training exercise when the fire started, authorities say. Authorities confirm that the fire was not related to the training exercises they were performing and was not apart of any escape plan.

Inmate firefighters are not allowed to have an flammable materials in the back of the trucks which include cigarettes, lighters, and liquids. It is unclear what started the fire and officials are still investigating it.

2:57 p.m. PDT June 7, 2022

Firefighters injured, June 7, 2022
Firefighters injured, June 7, 2022. Still image from ABC7 video.

Six firefighters were injured near Castaic, California Tuesday morning. Not all the details are known but initial reports, which can change, is that they were taking part in a training exercise and had burn injuries.

Four were transported to hospitals in two helicopters and two went by ground ambulance.

All six patients were inmate firefighters from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson Geovanni Sanchez. Emergency crews responded shortly after 11 a.m. following reports of burned patients on Templin Highway near Castaic, said Esteban Benitez, another spokesman for the county.

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

Six firefighters injured on the McFarland Fire in Northern California

Suffered burns while attacking spot fire

7:31 p.m. PDT August 7, 2021

McFarland Fire
McFarland Fire. USFS photo published August 6, 2021. (Not related to the injuries)

On Friday August 6, a handcrew was working on the south side of the McFarland Fire when a spot fire ignited ahead of them, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement released August 7.  While attacking the spot, six firefighters were exposed to some heat that resulted in first degree and minor second degree burns.

Amanda Munsey, one of the Information Officers at the fire, told Wildfire Today that the firefighters were examined by a Division Supervisor who happened to be a former Medical Unit Leader on the Incident Management Team. A helicopter was ordered to transport them to a hospital, Ms. Munsey said, but it was cancelled after it was determined it was not necessary. The six were taken by ground transportation to a hospital in Redding, California. The injuries did not meet the criteria for admittance to a Burn Center, so they were treated and released.

The firefighters will have two or three days off before they resume their duties.

The McFarland Fire is in northwest California on the south side of Highway 36, 5 miles west of Platina, California about an hour and 15 minute drive from Redding. It was one of many fires started from lightning around July 29 and has burned 30,000 acres since then.

The 44,000-acre Monument Fire is 21 miles to the northwest,  20 miles west of Weaverville, and on both sides of Highway 299.

Map of fires in Northwest California
Map of fires in Northwest California. The white lines were the perimeters Aug 7, 2021. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:34 p.m. PDT Aug 7, 2021.
Satellite photo Fires Northern California, Oregon, and Washington
Satellite photo at 6:51 p.m. PDT Aug 7, 2021. Fires in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington.

Report released for entrapment of firefighters on the Valley Fire

Valley fire entrapment site
Entrapment site of firefighters on the Valley Fire. Photo from the CAL FIRE report. (click to enlarge)

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has released a report for an entrapment with injuries that occurred on the Valley Fire September 12, 2015. The fire burned 76,000 acres 62 miles north of San Francisco.

Four firefighters from a helitack crew that had arrived at the fire via helicopter were on the ground fighting the fire with hand tools when they were surrounded by the fire during initial attack operations and suffered serious burn injuries. Below is an excerpt from the report.


“…FC1 directed FF3, FF4 and FF5 to get into the goat pen, which was clear to bare mineral soil. While in the goat pen they observed the fire behavior changing. There was an increase in the wind speed, and an increased number of spot fires in the pine needle duff and leaf litter surrounding them. FF3 saw fire sheeting and swirling across the dirt driveway on the northwest side of the goat pen; several pines torched on the west side of the steel garage.

From the location of RES2, FF2 observed increased fire behavior advancing toward Helitack A’s location. FF2 communicated the increased fire behavior using the radio; FC1 acknowledged FF2’s observation.

At approximately 1402 hours, the brush covered slope to their east completely torched into a wall of flame. The wall of flame sent a significant wave of radiant heat through the goat pen and onto the firefighters. They could feel their faces burning from the radiant heat and all four firefighters ran to the fence, climbed over, and ran towards the steel garage. At the steel garage Helitack A started to deploy their fire shelters.

“May-Day” was transmitted from FC1 and was heard over the radio. From the location of a third residence (RES3), FC2 could hear FC1 say over the radio, “Four have deployed their shelters, near a barn on the right flank.” FF4 had difficulty opening the fire shelter case from the Chainsaw Pack; the clear plastic covering of the fire shelter was soft and melted. FF4 had to remove the gloves to tear the plastic away from the aluminum shell of the fire shelter. FF3 couldn’t get the fire shelter out of the case because the clear plastic cover was melted to the white plastic protective sleeve. FF3 looked up and saw FF4 at the north side (D) of the steel garage. FF3 dropped the fire shelter on the ground and ran to FF4’s location. FF3 and FF4 shared FF4’s fire shelter and stayed together in a crouched position. FC1 and FF5 deployed their fire shelters on the east side (A) of the steel garage. The heat in front of the steel garage was too intense so they moved to the north side (D) of the steel garage with FF3 and FF4 where the atmosphere seemed to be cooler.

Helitack A huddled together shielding the heat away from their already burned faces and hands; each of them could see the visible burns to one another’s faces and hands. FC1 continued to use the radio requesting bucket drops from C1 on their deployment location to cool the atmosphere. FF5 attempted to drink the water from the hydration pack but the water from the mouth piece was too hot to drink. While crouched in their fire shelters next to the steel garage, Helitack A suddenly heard explosions coming from inside the now burning structure. As a group, Helitack A moved a safe distance from the structure. Helitack A eventually crouched along the dirt driveway, separating the dirt garden and the goat pen.

From the driveways of RES3 and a fourth residence (RES4), FC2 directed C1 to make bucket drops into Helitack A’s location at the top of the ridge. C1 orbiting above and was unable to get near their location at the top of the ridge due to the thick column of smoke convecting straight up into the atmosphere…”



  • FC1 suffered second and third degree burns to the head, face, ears, neck, back, arms, hands, legs and feet and has had several surgeries. FC1 remains in critical condition and is under the continued care of UCD Burn Center.
  • FF4 suffered first and second degree burns to the face, head, ears, arms and hands and is under the continued care of UCD Medical Center.
  • FF5 suffered first and second degree burns to the face, head, ears, arms, foot and hands and is under the continued care of UCD Medical Center.
  • FF3 suffered first and second degree burns to the face, head, ears, arms and hands and is under the continued care of UCD Medical Center.”

The report lists 13 “Safety issues for review and lessons learned”. Here are the first five:

  • “Crews must utilize L.C.E.S [lookouts, communications, escape routes, safety zones] when engaged in firefighting operations.
  • ALL Ten Standard Fire Orders MUST be obeyed at ALL TIMES.
  • Personnel MUST wear ALL CAL FIRE APPROVED PPE when engaged in firefighting operation.
  • Modifying Personal Protective Equipment can alter the protective properties.
  • Practice and prepare for shelter deployment in adverse and extreme conditions.”

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