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Wildland firefighter injured by falling tree while battling 2,400-acre blaze

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jun 24, 2024

BEAVER COUNTY, Utah — A firefighter was badly injured while working to contain a wildfire burning outside the town of Beaver.

The "Little Twist Fire" is burning about four miles southeast of Beaver in the Fishlake National Forest. It's the largest current wildfire in Utah at an estimated 2,417 acres.

The Bureau of Land Management said a member of the Bonneville Hotshots was injured Sunday. They said a tree fell on him while he was working on "suppression actions." He was airlifted to a hospital in St. George.

A GoFundMe for the injured firefighter identifies him as Daniel Burns.

BLM officials described his injuries as "severe." According to the fundraising page, he suffered injuries to his shoulder and his face, which will require multiple surgeries.

"The BLM and United States Forest Service (USFS) would like to thank the quick actions of first responders and all the medical personnel that provide medical care," the BLM said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with our teammate on his road to healing."

According to Utah Wildfire Info, 305 personnel have been assigned to the fire, and it is 15% contained.

"A lot of these crews are out there, risking their lives to protect the public land for the public," said Matthew Irving, a former Bonneville Hotshot. "Personally I was never really concerned about the wildfire because you go through a lot of training to make sure you don't put yourself in sketchy situations, but the trees were always the scariest for me. I had a few near misses myself."

Irving doesn't know Burns personally, but he knows from personal experience that something like this is difficult for his teammates.

"You form this little family, so when something kind of goes wrong, when an accident happens, it hits you hard," he said. "I know what his crew is feeling, and anything that can be done to help support them emotionally, monetarily, I think it's a really important thing to do."

The USFS and BLM have a team reviewing Sunday's accident.