California firefighter dies while battling blaze near Yosemite National Park

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 17, 2018

A firefighter helping to battle a forest fire near Yosemite National Park has been killed when his bulldozer rolled over, authorities confirmed Saturday.

McLean released a statement Saturday afternoon confirming Varney's death: "Please join us in keeping Braden and his loved ones in your prayers and all the responders on the front lines in your thoughts as they continue to work under extremely challenging conditions".

No memorial service plans are available at this time.

The procession will start at 3 p.m.at the intersection of Highway 49 South and Darrah Road, proceed past Cal Fire Headquarters to Mt. Bullion Cutoff Road, along Highway 140 to Merced, up Highway 99 to Oakdale Road in Modesto.

"It's very, very steep and very, very rugged terrain, and there are not many opportunities in these mountains to directly fight this fire", fire spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman said, adding that crews had cut containment lines around only about 2 percent of the blaze.

The wildfire that killed Varney is one of several burning across the state and among 56 large blazes that are active in the US, most in the American West, a region struggling with drought and heat.

Varney's body will be retrieved Monday at the earliest because it's in a "precarious location" and conditions were too unsafe over the weekend, Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean said.

The fire broke out on Friday evening near the park's western edge, and evacuations orders and advisories are in place. He had been with Cal Fire for more than 10 years. Mr Varney leaves behind a wife and two small children. He had worked for CalFire for 10 years.

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'.

Cal Fire reported Saturday that about 1,300 personnel from both states are fighting the fire, which killed a 72-year-old resident of Hornbrook and has injured three firefighters.

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