First Responders

Firefighter Dies While Conducting Fire Suppression Efforts Against the El Dorado Wildfire

September 19, 2020Joshua Skovlund

In remembrance of fallen firefighters.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service announced that a firefighter died Thursday in the California wildfires, confirming the death is in connection with the El Dorado wildfire that started in California. 

The firefighter’s name is being withheld until next-of-kin notification is confirmed; the incident is currently under investigation. 

california wildfires
One of the wildfires nearing a California city. Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Levan Badzgaradze.

The El Dorado wildfire started on Sept. 5, 2020, and has been burning for the past 14 days. It is currently 21,678 acres in size and 66% contained, according to a USDA Forest Service Incident Information System (IIS) report. The report lists the wildfire as caused by humans, starting in the Yucaipa Ridge area, West Oak Glen, San Bernardino Mountains, California. There are 1,351 personnel assigned to this fire for containment, suppression, and extinguishing efforts. 

Twenty-six fatalities and 6,223 structures have fallen victim to the California wildfires. Of the 26 fatalities, three are firefighters. According to ABC30, on Aug. 19, 2020, a contracted water-dumping helicopter crashed near the Hills Fire Complex during fire suppression attempts, killing the pilot, 52-year-old Michael John Fournier of Rancho Cucamonga, California. On Aug. 1, 2020, Texas volunteer firefighter Diana Jones was killed and another injured during firefighting efforts to extinguish the August Fire Complex, according to CBS News

High winds are still spreading the fire according to the IIS report. The El Dorado wildfire is one of 7,882 wildfires listed on Cal Fire’s incident fire map. The first wildfires started as early as June 2020 and have rapidly spread due to ideal fire weather conditions. There are currently 3,472,947 acres burned in California so far in 2020.

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.

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