Firefighter Injured Working Hastings Wildfire

A fire fighter working the Hastings wild fire was injured when a tree fell on him Thursday night.  Incident Commander Tom Kurth says the man, from a Mt. Hood, Oregon-based crew, was working the 23,000 acre burn north of Fairbanks, when the large fire weakened tree came down.

Kurth says fellow firefighters trained in emergency medicine provided first aid, but that evacuation of the injured man was not immediately possible. The accident occurred in a relatively remote area along the fire’s southeast perimeter, and Kurth says fire fighters had to clear a spot for a rescue helicopter to get in. He was then taken to Fairbanks Memorial.

Kuth says the man was later transferred to Anchorage due to concerns about his head injury, but he is recovering well. Kurth says trees with fire weakened roots can fall suddenly, and he urges the public to stay clear of burn areas. The Thursday night incident was the first serious injury on the Hastings fire, since it started almost three weeks ago.  At peak, the response included nearly a thousand fire fighters. The fire is now 40 percent contained, and the response is ramping down.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.