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Montana firefighter being treated at U of U hospital after being burned by wildfire

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Posted at 10:00 PM, Jul 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-18 00:27:07-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A firefighter is being treated at the University of Utah Hospital for burns he suffered while battling a wildfire in Montana.

On Friday, Dan Steffensen and Scott Wilson were working to fight the Harris Fire, burning an estimated 2,500 acres southwest of Billings.

According to Red Lodge Fire Rescue, the wind suddenly changed direction and the fire overtook the two-person crew.

The flames scorched the crew's truck, and Steffensen suffered severe burns. Wilson was not injured, but officials say he acted quickly to inform crew leaders and get his colleague emergency medical care.

Steffensen was taken to a local hospital by ambulance before being flown to Salt Lake City, where he was admitted to the U of U Hospital's burn unit. As of Saturday, he was in serious condition.

His family and firefighting colleagues are traveling to Utah to be by his side.

“We’d like to thank the wildland firefighting community for reaching out to us with offers of help and words of support. Please keep Dan and his family in your thoughts and prayers during these difficult times,” Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz said. “This event is a reminder that firefighting is dangerous and we are truly grateful to those who answer the call to help others in time of need.”

"We are grateful for our firefighters who routinely answer the call to protect our homes and property," a Facebook post from Red Lodge added. "This is a stark reminder of how dangerous this job can be. Please keep our brave firefighter and his family in your thoughts and prayers - they will undoubtedly need your support in the days to follow."

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Steffensen's family with treatment and recovery expenses.