- Special Sections
VALLEJO, Calif., JUNE 11 â€“ A 28-year-old firefighter from Susanville, Calif., died Monday afternoon as a result of injuries received on a wildfire on the Modoc National Forest in northeast California. Luke Sheehy was a member of the California Smokejumpers, based out of Redding.
Sheehy was struck by a falling portion of a tree on the Saddle Back Fire in the South Warner Wilderness about 15 miles southeast of Alturas, Calif. The incident occurred just before 5 p.m. Efforts to resuscitate Sheehy were not successful. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Alturas where he was pronounced dead.
â€śOur hearts go out to the family and friends of this brave young smokejumper who lost his life yesterday working with his team to control a blaze on the Modoc National Forest,â€ť said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. â€śWe are launching a full review into the cause of his death to learn everything we can to prevent future tragedies like this.â€ť
Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore echoed Chief Tidwellâ€™s sentiments. â€śWe are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Itâ€™s a devastating loss and is being felt throughout the entire Forest Service.â€ť
The Saddle Back Fire is one of several dozen lightning-caused fires that began on multiple national forests throughout northern California on Sunday and Monday. It was first reported to the Modoc Interagency Communications Center about 3 p.m. Monday. Several U.S. Forest Service firefighters remain on scene suppressing the fire.