Firefighter killed by falling tree in Oregon

On the Rum Creek Fire north of Galice, OR

5:17 p.m. PDT August 19, 2022

Map fires near Galice, Oregon, August 19, 2022
The red and yellow dots represent heat on wildfires detected by satellites as late as 2:06 p.m. PDT August 19, 2022 near Galice, Oregon.

(From the Oregon Department of Forestry)

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials are saddened to announce the death of 25-year-old wildland firefighter Logan Taylor of Talent, Oregon.

On Thursday, August 18, 2022, shortly after 4:00 p.m., dispatchers received information regarding a wildland firefighter that was critically injured after being struck by a tree on the Rum Creek Fire north of Galice. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) immediately deployed a helicopter and personnel to the fire and airlifted Mr. Taylor out of the mountainous terrain to a waiting Mercy Flights helicopter, which transported him to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford.

Despite lifesaving efforts by firefighters and EMS personnel assigned to the fire and responding medical staff, Mr. Taylor succumbed to his injuries. He was the operator of Sasquatch Reforestation, an ODF-contracted firefighting company.

“We are extremely saddened by the passing of Logan Taylor. This loss is deeply felt by our ODF family and throughout the wildland fire community as a whole,” said Tyler McCarty, ODF Southwest Oregon District Forester. “Safety remains our top priority. ODF and our partners are committed to learning from this accident and to doing everything we can to reduce the risk of similar incidents occurring in the future.”

“A loss of a firefighter’s life impacts the whole firefighting community, and we send our condolences to the family friends and coworkers,” said Elizabeth Burghard, BLM Medford District Manager. “Safety is the number one priority for the BLM and our wildland firefighting partners. We want every firefighter to come home safely each day.”

The incident is under investigation and more details will be released as they are confirmed.

(end of message from the ODF)

Galice, Oregon is 17 air miles northwest of Grants Pass, Oregon. Tuesday morning Oregon had 23 new fires for a total of 68 acres (many of them started by lightning), plus four large fires that have burned more than 6,500 acres.

We send out our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Mr. Taylor. He was a member of the Craig Interagency Hotshots.

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

Contract videographer captures a slice of hotshot crew life on a fire

BLM video The Wild Land
Still image from BLM video, “The Wild Land”. Videography by Matt Irving.

In 2021, the Bureau of Land Management Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew was joined on a two-week assignment by a Bureau of Land Management Fire program contract videographer, Matt Irving. He was able to capture the crew while assigned to incidents in California and Montana.

BLM video The Wild Land
Still image from BLM video, “The Wild Land”. Videography by Matt Irving.

The videography is excellent and gives the viewer a small sample of what it is like to work on a hotshot crew. It is one of the best examples I have seen about the work being performed routinely by these public servants. Check it out, below.

This is a great example of why the federal land management agencies must emphasize the importance of assigning contract photographers and videographers to capture images of fires and the personnel who manage them. In these times of very challenging recruitment, this could be a small step toward encouraging potential applicants. Obviously the BLM recognizes its value. Here is how they described the video when it was posted on their Facebook page this week:

Looking for a #FireJob? Have you ever thought about applying for one of the 13 Bureau of Land Management’s Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHCs)? If so, take a moment to watch “The Wild Land” video by Matt Irving, as he followed the Bureau of Land Management – Colorado Craig IHC and hear about why they love working in The Wild Lands! #NotYourOrdinaryJob #WeAreBLMFire