Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Firefighter Battling Yosemite Flames Killed in Bulldozer Accident

Firefighter Battling Yosemite Flames Killed in Bulldozer Accident

Firefighters are struggling to contain a deadly wildfire that more than doubled in size on Monday, charring almost 9,300 acres of land near Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains.

CAL FIRE announced this afternoon that Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was tragically killed while battling the fire.

The Texas A&M Forest Service reported on Tuesday the four fires that destroyed more than 5,000 acres in Archer County have been contained. Some rural communities and several lodges and hotels have been evacuated.

Crews are fighting the Hendrix Fire, burning in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest 10 miles south of Ashland, and the Gravel fire, burning near Prospect, Oregon.

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The Ferguson Fire, which started on Friday, July 13, has spread across over 9,000 acres.

The Ferguson Fire began Friday night and has prompted mandatory evacuations and a closure of Highway 140 near El Portal. Varney was driving a bulldozer to create a gap in vegetation to keep the flames from extending into a nearby community, according to Cal Fire Fire Chief Nancy Koerperich.

In Yosemite, a 2-mile section of State Route 140 was shut down as firefighters worked to form a fire line along the highway.

There have been 231 wildfires in the Prince George Fire Centre this year, burning more than 44 thousand hectares of forest.

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Gov. Jerry Brown ordered flags at the state's capitol to be flown at half-staff to honor 'a man who dedicated his life to protecting his fellow Californians'.

The cause of the fire is yet to be known and now under investigation.

Near the OR border, firefighters are continuing to make progress on the Klamathon Fire, which is now 95 percent contained. Not only are the firefighters mourning the loss of one of their own, but they are battling a fire that is now outpacing them.

The circumstances surrounding his death were not immediately released and officials said they were still working to confirm details.

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