Firefighter killed in Oregon was a 60-year-old tree-cutter

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 31, 2013 6:21 PM

(Reuters) - A firefighter killed while battling a central Oregon wildfire has been identified as John Hammack, 60, of Madras, Oregon officials said.

He was killed and another firefighter was injured when a tree fell on them as they fought a blaze outside the town of Sisters on Thursday, one of several blazes that have blackened hundreds of square miles of terrain across the Pacific Northwest. The fire continued to burn, but other details were not immediately available.

The surviving firefighter, Norman Crawford, was treated at a hospital for shoulder injuries, and has been released, according to local reports. Both men were contract tree fellers who were part of the firefighting team.

"This is a tough loss for Oregon, and with our state experiencing the most severe wildfire conditions in years, all first responders deserve our gratitude, our appreciation, and our support," Governor John Kitzhaber said in a statement.

The current fire season has been particularly deadly in the U.S. West. Nineteen Arizona firefighters died in June after they became trapped by a wind-whipped inferno, and two people perished after being caught in a blaze in neighboring Colorado.

Several large forest fires were also raging in Oregon and neighboring Washington.

(Writing by Jane Sutton; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)