Updated 8:45 a.m. Tuesday
Cal Fire says a firefighter from Utah died Monday while battling the immense Mendocino Complex blaze, the sixth death recorded in the past month among the army of front-line crews, heavy equipment operators and support personnel struggling to quell a fierce wave of wildland conflagrations.
Cal Fire Incident Commander Sean Kavanaugh said at a briefing Monday night that the firefighter — later identified as Matthew Burchett, 42, of Draper, Utah — was fatally injured working on an active portion of the Ranch Fire, the larger of the two blazes that make up the Mendocino Complex.
Kavanaugh said the firefighter was airlifted to a local hospital where he died.
Joseph Dougherty, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Public Safety, said Burchett was a battalion chief with the Draper City Fire Department. He joined the agency just three months ago after serving for 20 years with the Unified Fire Authority, a department that serves more than a dozen communities and unincorporated areas near Salt Lake City.