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Incident Name: Soberanes Fire
Date: July 26, 2016, 2310 hours
Personnel: Robert Oliver Reagan, III
Age: 35
Agency/Organization: private Call When Needed (CWN) dozer under contract with CAL FIRE
Position: bulldozer operator

Summary: On July 26, 2016, at approximately 2310 hours, a private dozer operator, Robert Oliver Reagan III, age 35 of Friant, CA, succumbed to fatal injuries on Division T of the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County, CA. Starting the shift, the dozer left the roadway and rolled over. Fireline personnel immediately responded in an attempt to assist and treat Robert Reagan, III who tragically succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

Robert Reagan

Robert Oliver Reagan III Robert Oliver Reagan III

From the Fire Service of Monterey County Facebook page on July 29: Robert Reagan and his family.

Robert Reagan Family Robert Reagan Family


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General Location: Division T (extreme southest portion) of the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County, CA; near Palo Colorado (Vicinity of U.S. National Grid: 10S FF 022 266)


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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • CAL FIRE: Announcement of fatality on the Soberanes Fire; (379 K pdf)
  • E-mail and announcement to CAL FIRE employees, and to others, from Ken Plimlott, CAL FIRE Director

    "I am saddened to report the death of a private dozer operator overnight on the Soberanes fire.

    Details will be made available as next of kin are notified and as the Serious Accident Review Process is completed.

    Please keep your situational awareness sharp as we head into what is shaping up to be yet another significantly challenging year for wildfires."

    Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director

  • CAL FIRE: Release of Robert Regan's name (388 K pdf)
  • CAL FIRE: 24 Hour Report (Blue Sheet) (68 K pdf)
  • CAL FIRE: 72 Hour Report (Green Sheet) (1.23 MB pdf)
  • Lessons Learned Center file of documents on this incident

Soberanes Fire Topography, extremely steep; Photo credit: Matthew Henderson

Soberanes Fire topography, extremely steep Soberanes Fire topography, extremely steep


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Media Articles and Reports

Soberanes Fire from above Soberanes Fire from above
  • Bulldozer operator killed fighting growing fire near Big Sur

    7/27/2016 | Online Article

    CARMEL — A wildfire burning in the wilderness around Big Sur claimed its first victim when a bulldozer rolled over, killing the operator who was helping to battle the growing inferno, which continued to menace homes as it swelled to 23,688 acres, officials said Wednesday. The privately contracted bulldozer operator...(More at the link, basically the official CAL FIRE NEWS release)

  • Man Killed In Soberanes Fire Identified

    7/28/2016 | Online Article

    Officials with Cal FIRE have identified the man who was killed while battling the Soberanes Fire in Monterrey County.

    Robert Reagan III, 35, was a private dozer operator. Cal FIRE officials said the 35-year-old Friant man died in a rollover accident. (more at the link...)

  • County Identifies Bulldozer Operator Killed In Big Sur Fire

    7/28/2016 | Online Article

    BIG SUR (CBS SF/AP) — Monterey County officials on Thursday identified the bulldozer operator killed in the fire as 35-year-old Robert Reagan of Fresno County. (Much more about Robert at the link...)

  • Robert Reagan, Yosemite grad and race car driver, killed while battling Soberanes Fire

    July 28, 2016 | Online Article

    Robert Oliver Reagan III, a Friant resident and graduate of Yosemite High School, was identified Thursday as the bulldozer operator who died July 26 while fighting the Soberanes Fire in Big Sur. Area news station... (Much more at the link...)

  • News update on the Soberanes Fire

    Break in the Weather for Big Sur Firefighters

    8/3/2016 | Online Article

  • Online Article Photo of dozers on the Soberanes Fire by Michael Troutman

    Dozers on the Soberanes Fire Dozers on the Soberanes Fire

  • Cal Fire releases report on dozer fatality

    8/11/2016 | Online Article

    ... On Tuesday, July 26, at approximately 11 p.m., Reagan was operating a dozer, attempting to access an area for fireline construction, but had to maneuver around a fire engine that was blocking the roadway.

    According to Cal Fire investigators, as the dozer proceeded slowly over a steep embankment in an effort to reach the lower road, it rolled onto its left side and roof, ejecting Reagan from the cab. Fire personnel who witnessed the event immediately responded, along with a paramedic who was in the immediate area, but determined that Reagan was deceased. (More at the link...)

  • Photo credit: CAL FIRE

    Dozer rollover Dozer rollover


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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

Spontaneous Memorial; credit: DMT Imaging

Spontaneous Memorial Spontaneous Memorial



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Contributors to this article:  Mellie, RJM


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