Trending Topics

Ore. firefighter killed during wildfire operations has been identified

Frumencio Ruiz Carapia of Medford was working on the Gales Fire when a tree unexpectedly snapped and fell over, striking him


A smoke plume rises from the Gales Fire east of Fall Creek as seen from Interstate 5 north of Creswell, Ore.

UPDATE: Aug. 24, 10 p.m. PT

Jaimie Ding

EUGENE, Ore. — A firefighter from Medford died when he was hit by a falling tree while fighting the Middle Fork Complex of wildfires east of Eugene, deputies said.

It appears the tree unexpectedly snapped and fell over, killing Frumencio Ruiz Carapia, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office said. The tree didn’t topple because of an active tree-cutting operation, an investigation found.

Ruiz Carapia, 56, was working on the Gales fire within the cluster of wildfires when he was struck, sheriff’s officials said. He died at the scene.

The Middle Fork Complex is burning about 40 miles east of Eugene and 9 miles north of Oakridge in parts of the Willamette National Forest. It has scorched over 16,000 acres and is 10% contained as of Tuesday. Parts of Lane County remain under evacuation notices, though no buildings have been burned.

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC


Louis Krauss
The Register-Guard

EUGENE, Ore. — A firefighter battling the Gales Fire north of Oakridge died Monday afternoon.

It is suspected to have been caused by a tree falling on firefighter, according to Bryan Cutchen, Oakridge city administrator and acting fire chief. The victim was a young man, he added.

The death occurred on the eastern edge of the Gales Fire, according to Larry Nickey, deputy incident commander liaison for Pacific Northwest Team 13.

“We don’t have any information we can release right now because of the investigation, we do have a sheriff’s deputy on route to assist with the investigation,” Nickey said.

Nickey said officials were trying to get the division supervisor into cell service range to discuss the incident Monday afternoon.

It’s the first reported death from the Middle Fork Complex wildfires, which are thought to have started by lightning in Willamette National Forest the week of July 26.

The Gales and Ninemile fires, both north of Oakridge, were reported at 13,597 acres total on Saturday. They are the largest fires in the complex.

This story will be updated.

©2021 Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Firefighter/paramedic Brian Herr joined the department in March 2023 after relocating to Florida from Chicago
Other possible causes, such as campfires, target shooters, smoking, debris burning and vehicles, were rejected, a CAL FIRE peace officer said
Intterra, the national leader in situational awareness software for fire first responders releases a new product to manage and track community wildfire risk & resilience efforts
Capon Valley Firefighter Ronald Maurice Strosnider fell ill while on the call