News | Local

Firefighter Dies Fighting Mt. Washington Wilderness Blaze

OPB | Aug. 1, 2013 1:59 p.m. | Updated: July 20, 2014 10:09 a.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Authorities in Sisters say a wildland firefighter died Thursday morning after he was crushed by a falling tree. 

Another firefighter was injured in the accident and was taken to a local hospital. 

The two men were part of a tree falling team operated by R&K Water Services out of Bonney Lake, Washington.  They were responding to a lightning sparked blaze in the Mt. Washington Wilderness of the Deschutes National Forest.

Spokeswoman Jean Nelson-Dean says both the Forest and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office will investigate into the accident.

In the meantime, other members of the team have been pulled off the fire so counsellors can provide support.

“You know, it’s a family.  It’s a firefighting family.  And it doesn’t matter if they’re contract folks or Forest Service or BLM or state or whoever they are, it affects everyone,” Nelson-Dean said.

According to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center, firefighters responded to about 4 dozen calls after lightning moved through the region Wednesday night.  As Thursday morning, at least a dozen fires were still burning.

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