The 1,000 acre Ferguson Fire, currently burning on the steep and rugged terrain just west of Yosemite National Park, tragically claimed the life of a firefighter on Saturday.
Braden Varney, of Mariposa, California, was operating a bulldozer, trying to build a firebreak to help stop the blaze, when it rolled over on him. 36-year-old Varney leaves behind a wife and two small children.
It is with deep sadness that we share the news that @CALFIREMMU Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was tragically killed while battling the Ferguson Fire. Braden leaves behind a wife & two small children. Please join us in keeping Braden’s loved ones in your thoughts. pic.twitter.com/A5tmzCk09y
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) July 14, 2018
Congressman Tom Mclintock released the following statement:
I am deeply sorry for the tragic loss of this young man, Braden Varney. To his wife and children go my deepest sympathy. To his fellow CAL FIRE heroes, please know as you mourn your colleague, we appreciate all you do to keep us safe.
The tragic accident is another loss in an already devastating Northern California Fire season. We’ve seen a civilian death and a serious firefighter injury in the Klamathon Fire, on top of all of the property damage.
The Ferguson Fire continues to burn in the Sierra National Forest near Mariposa and has forced the closure of Highway 140 near milepost 37 on the west side of Yosemite. The fire is 5 percent contained. Evacuations were in effect for the Savage Trading Post, Cedar Lodge and the Red Bud Inn, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
Visitors should take alternate routes into the park, the National Park Service said.