Officials say a firefighter killed while battling a wildfire near Yosemite National Park was driving a bulldozer and trying to prevent the fire from spreading.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Nancy Koerperich said Saturday that Braden Varney was cutting a “fire break” with the vehicle to prevent the blaze from spreading when he was killed.
First responders haven’t been able to retrieve Varney’s body from inside the bulldozer because of a “rollover.”
Koerperich says he’d been working since the fire broke out Friday night and was making his way out of the fire area when he was fatally injured.
Officials are still trying to determine the circumstances surrounding his death.
The fire is burning in Mariposa County, near the west end of Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says a firefighter has been killed while battling a wildfire near Yosemite National Park.
Officials say Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was killed Saturday morning while battling the Ferguson Fire.
No other details about his death were released.
The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. Friday night in Mariposa County, near the west end of Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest.
Fire officials say Varney is survived by his wife and two small children.
They said the fire had burned about 130 acres (52.61 hectares) by Saturday afternoon.
A wildfire burning near the west end of Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest has closed a thoroughfare in the area.
Officials said Saturday that Highway 140 was closed from Midpines to El Portal due to the wildfire.
The fire began Friday evening. Officials at Sierra National Forest tweeted that it had burned about 130 acres (52.61 hectares) by Saturday afternoon.
The National Parks Service said visitors planning to travel from Mariposa or Merced should use an alternate route.
They said power in Yosemite Valley had also been affected because power lines had been turned off as firefighters work to quell the blaze.