Firefighter Dies After Being Struck by Tree While Battling Blaze in Oregon

by Lauren Boisvert

On Thursday, August 18, a firefighter working to control a blaze in Oregon tragically died after a tree struck him. The Oregon Department of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management reported 25-year-old Logan Taylor’s death in a Facebook post, according to Out There Colorado. The department shared that while battling the Rum Creek Fire in Josephine County, a falling tree critically injured Taylor. Rescue crews airlifted him to a nearby hospital but he died despite their attempts to save him.

“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 Southwest Oregon District Forester Tyler McCarty in a statement. “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.”

Logan Taylor was a resident of Talent, Oregon. He was an operator of the Oregon Department of Forestry-contracted firefighting unit Sasquatch Reforestation.

Firefighter Dies While Battling Rum Creek Fire; Meanwhile, Others Continue to Fight Wildfires Across the US

Across the United States, but more so in the far West–California especially–wildfires are raging. The McKinney Fire in the Klamath National Forest burned over 60,000 acres and killed four people. The US Forest Service recently announced the final update on the blaze: they positively identified those killed, and the wildfire sits at 95% containment as of August 20.

The victims include Kathleen Shoopman, 73; Charles Kays, 79; Judith Kays, 82; and John Cogan, 76, according to NBC News. All four lived in the small Klamath River community. McKinney became California’s worst fire of the year when it began on July 29 and quickly burned 51,000 acres. Siskiyou County was previously under a state of emergency, with nearby communities ordered to evacuate. Thunderstorms and high winds over the first weekend of August contributed to the wildfire’s massive spread.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, this year to date there have been 43,427 fires across the United States. They collectively burned 5,967,808 acres. 48 large fires currently burn in 11 states, with 13 in Montana, 11 in Idaho, and 6 in Oregon alone. The active fires have burned 774,562 acres combined.

As of August 22, fire weather warnings are in effect in northeast Oregon, southeast Washington, and central Idaho, according to the Fire Center.

Oregon Wildfire Breaks Out In July, Cause of Fire Revealed

In July, a fire broke out in Oregon’s Portland Forest Park. The fire didn’t grow big enough to receive a name, as bystanders witnessed the incident and called 911. Firefighters responded to the scene and quickly extinguished the flames. The cause of the wildfire? Someone carelessly discarding a lit cigarette in the forest.

“We’re all very lucky that this was in the middle of the afternoon, when someone was walking nearby and called 9-1-1, and not in the middle of the night, when the fire may have spread rapidly,” said Portland Fire and Rescue.