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Fire in Yosemite National Park 2013.
15 Jul 2018

Firefighter died in Yosemite National Park forest fire

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A firefighter has died when his bulldozer rolled over whie he was helping fight the Ferguson forest fire near Yosemite National Park in California.

So far this year, a total of ten people have died in connection with the forest fires and grass fires in Western United States.

"The wind is really erratic, there is no moisture in the vegetation and it is still very dry despite the rain we have received," said Scott Maclean, spokesman for the California Forest and Fire Protection Authority.

Last year, a total of 14 firefighters died when the United States suffered from the second worst season of forest fires in history.

So far this year, a larger area has been destroyed by forest and grass fires in the United States than the annual average over the past ten years.

The  36-year old firefighter was helping to battle a forest fire near Yosemite National Park and was killed when his bulldozer rolled over, authorities confirmed Saturday.

He leaves behind a wife and two children, according to CalFire, the statewide fire authority.

“Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was tragically killed while battling the Ferguson Fire,” CalFire said in a statement. “Braden leaves behind a wife & two small children. Please join us in keeping Braden's loved ones in your thoughts”, the U.S. Forest Service in California said in a statement.

The Ferguson Fire is one of dozens burning across California and the West as the region struggles with high temperatures that have dramatically increased fire danger. The Ferguson Fire is one of the newest and was only reported late Friday evening.

In California, firefighters are still battling the 90,000-acre County Fire west of Sacramento and the 38,000-acre Klamathon Fire on the Oregon border.

More than 1 million acres across the country are currently part of active wildfires, according to federal officials. So far this year, about 3.3 million acres have been burned by wildfires across the country.


Photo: Wikipedia Commons. Shows helicopter water bombing in the Pacific Rim during the 2013 forest fire.