Firefighter fatality marks first death in California's biggest blaze

The state's fire and forestry department said it was "deeply saddened" by the firefighter's death and was investigating the circumstances.
by Tim Stelloh / Aug.14.2018 / 11:53 AM ET / Updated 1:14 PM ET
Image: Holy wildfire grows in Southern California
A firefighter watches the flames approach while battling the 'Holy' wildfire in Corona, California on August 10, 2018.Eugene Garcia / EPA
FORT BRAGG, Calif. — A firefighter was killed Monday while battling California's Mendocino Complex Fire, marking the first death in the largest wildfire in recorded state history.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, Chief Sean Kavanaugh confirmed in a news conference late Monday night that a firefighter from Utah died from injuries sustained while "working on an active portion of the fire."

The firefighter, who was not identified, was airlifted to a local hospital where he died from his injuries, Kavanaugh said, adding, "We are extremely heartbroken from this loss."

Image: California WildfireA wildfire burns near homes in the Cleveland National Forest in Lake Elsinore, Calif on Aug. 9, 2018.Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP
The fatality marked the 11th in an unusually dangerous fire season that officials described Saturday as "a siege."

The Mendocino Complex fire, which began on July 27, includes two blazes, the Ranch and River fires, that have scorched nearly 350,000 acres across the rural northern counties of Colusa, Lake and Mendocino. 
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