UT Firefighter Dies Battling CA Wildfire

Draper City Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett was killed Monday battling the two wildfires known as the Mendocino Complex fire.

Draper City Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett.

Aug. 14 — The latest firefighter killed while on duty at a California wildfire was identified Tuesday as a fire chief deployed from Utah, according to his city’s fire department and mayor.

Draper City Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett, 42, died Monday fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire, the department said in a Tuesday news release shared on Facebook.

It was the first fatality in connection to the Ranch Fire, a 300,000-acre blaze that has been burning since July 27. Cal Fire confirmed the death Monday evening, but did not identify the victim at the time.

Burchett’s death fighting the Ranch Fire was announced by Draper Mayor Troy Walker at a Tuesday morning press conference.

The city of Draper deployed five firefighters to California on Aug. 2, the fire department said in the release.

Burchett had joined Draper City Fire Department in May. Previously, Burchett had served with Salt Lake City’s Unified Fire Authority for the 20 years, according to the news release release. Burchett had extensive experience in wildland and structure fire, the city said on social media.

Burchett leaves behind a wife and a young son.

Two other firefighters have been injured fighting the Mendocino Complex, according to Cal Fire’s incident report Tuesday morning.

More than 3,100 fire personnel are fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire. The Ranch Fire is 68 percent contained at more than 305,000 acres, according to Cal Fire, while the River Fire is fully contained after burning nearly 50,000 acres.

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Credit: Draper City, UT, Fire Department

Draper City Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett.

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