An account of the incident from firefighter Jake Wayne (@bigskythisguy on Instagram).
A firefighter from Florida was seriously injured while working in the Northeast Zone of the August Complex last week when a fire-damaged tree came crashing down onto an occupied pickup truck.
Great Basin Team 2 spokesperson Brian Harris told the Outpost that the unnamed firefighter was sitting in the truck on the evening of October 8, on a forest road off of Highway 36 near Forest Glen, when the tree suddenly toppled over onto the truck’s cabin.
“It’s one of the biggest safety factors,” Harris said. “We always [prepare for damaged trees] where the roots have been weakened. They’re prone to fall without warning and that’s what took place here.”
Paramedics were reportedly on scene within five minutes and the injured firefighter was rushed to Redding’s Mercy Medical Center by helicopter. While the firefighter’s injuries were deemed serious enough for an airlift, he is reportedly already doing much better and is preparing to return home to Florida.
“It was a serious injury that needed immediate hospital support,” Harris said. “We know that he has indeed been released from the hospital in Redding and is convalescing before transferring back to his home state.”
While the injured firefighter is a long way from home, Harris said that he’s been with his wife for most of his recovery thanks to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which paid for her flight to Redding following the accident.