Incident Name: Launch Fire on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Klamath County, OR
Date: 7/29/2014, 1830 hours
Personnel: Matthew David Goodnature of Phoenix, OR.
Agency/Organization: Pacific Oasis Wildland Firefighting out of Ashland, OR; under contract with the USFS
Summary: Firefighter Goodnature died on July 29, 2014 while on-duty but not fighting the fire -- his crew was staged in fire camp of the Launch Fire. According to Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah, Matthew appears to have tripped on a sizable rock and then fallen backwards while on a walk out of fire camp. Skrah said scruff marks and others traces indicate Goodnature fell on a log that struck on the small of his back. It appears he died from a broken back. No one was on the scene of the accident at the time. Matthew was found by a firefighter involved in a grid search that was initiated when Matthew did not appear for a head count.
Investigation into the fatal incident continues by the National Forest, the state, and local authorities, but it appears the cause of death was accidental.
From Matthew's Facebook page
Vicinity of Four Mile Lake, Klamath County, OR; U.S. National Grid: 10T EN 62 03
- Announcemet of Matthew's death on South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership's Facebook Page, July 30, 2014
- Inciweb on the Launch Fire, downsized to 42 acres in rugged terrain.
- From Inciweb, Photos Credit: Shannon Theall
- Fourmile Firefighter dies from fall
7/30/2014 | Online article
An off-duty firefighter is reported to have died Tuesday night while staged near the Launch Fire at Fourmile Lake.
The death is being investigated, but it currently thought to be accidental.
According to Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah, Matthew David Goodnature, 21, was taking a walk away from his fire camp at approximately 6:30 p.m.when the accident happened.
According to Skrah, he appears to have tripped on a sizable rock and fallen backwards. Skrah said scruff marks and others traces indicate Goodnature fell on a log that struck on the small of his back. It appears he died from a broken back.
There is no signs of foul play, but Skrah said ... (More at the link)
- Firefighter dies in falling accident near Launch Fire at Fourmile Lake
7/30/2014 | Online article
Klamath County, Ore. -- There's sad news tonight to report from the fire lines, as Southern Oregon's 2014 fire season claims a life.
Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah said around 6:30 to 7 Tuesday night, 21-year-old Matthew David Goodnature from Phoenix, stepped on a rock, slipped, and fell on a downed tree.
The lower part of his back hit. Authorities said it appears he broke his back and died. It happened while Goodnature was on a break from fighting the Launch Fire near Fourmile Lake in Klamath County.
One detective said there's no evidence to suggest it was anything other than an accident.
"It does not appear at this time that there is any criminal action taking place, but that's preliminary because we haven't discovered anything of that nature," said Detective Nick Kennedy with the Klamath County Sheriff's Office.
The entire fire fighting community, friends and family are mourning the young firefighter. (more at the link...)
- Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor for the Fremont-Winema National Forest:
"The Forest and the entire wildland fire community are saddened by the tragic loss of one of our firefighters. Our hearts go out to their family, friends and co-workers."
- Matthew's mom has told news reporters he loved his crew and he loved what he was doing -- making a difference.
- Statement from Rebekah Dodds, Vice President, Pacific Oasis:
Matt was a hard worker and was well liked by all of his coworkers. We all miss him. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and send our deepest condolences to his family."
- USFA Memorial Database: Matthew David Goodnature
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