Firefighter death in California's Ferguson fire ruled ‘serious accident,’ prompts safety changes

  • Source: Merced Sun-Star - Metered Site
  • Published: 05/08/2019 12:00 AM

The July 2018 death of an inter-agency captain who was helping fight the Ferguson wildfire was ruled a “serious accident” and sparked an investigation and change in policies for the National Park Service. Capt. Brian Hughes, 33, of the NPS Arrowhead Hotshot agency, was killed on July 29, 2018, while he and his crew were removing hazardous standing dead trees to prevent the fire near Yosemite National Park from spreading, according to a news release. Hughes’ death marked the second firefighter death in the Ferguson Fire in Sierra National Forest. Mariposa native Braden Varney, 36, was killed days into the start of the fire on July 14, 2018, after he was found with his bulldozer on sloping terrain near El Portal. The report released Tuesday by the National Park Service found Hughes and his partner were operating correctly and had been properly trained, according to the agency standards at the time, and recommended new training and procedures be explored.


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