Wildland firefighter dies in crash while returning home from assignment

Firefighter Sara Madsen was working on a Hotshot crew for the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana prior to the crash

By Laura French

HELENA, Mont. — A wildland firefighter was killed in a crash last week while returning home from a fire assignment. 

U.S. Forest Service officials announced that Firefighter Sara Madsen, 24, of Idaho, died on Wednesday in the crash after completing an assignment as part of a Hotshot crew for the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana. 

"Nothing is so devastating and tragic as losing a family member, a loved one, a friend, or a close colleague. The heartbreak is often compounded when that precious life is lost at such a young age," USFS officials wrote. "Sara Madsen was an incredible person with a vivacious personality and a love of the outdoors." 

According to Idaho State Police, Madsen was killed when her vehicle went off the shoulder of the road and overturned, ejecting her. Madsen was not restrained with a seatbelt at the time and died at the scene, authorities said. 

Madsen began her career at the U.S. Forest Service as a Youth Conservation Corp member in Teton Valley before joining the fire program in 2017, as a crewmember on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest's Centennial Type II Initial Attack Hand Crew. This year was her first year as a member of the Helena Hotshot crew. 


Yesterday, we tragically lost a member of our firefighting and forest service family in a vehicle accident as she...

Posted by U.S. Forest Service - Caribou-Targhee National Forest on Thursday, September 3, 2020


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