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Firefighter killed in Josephine County, second death in Oregon this season

A line of wildland firefighters carrying gear march up a hill through a forest.
Oregon Department of Forestry
ODF firefighters working on the Wards Creek fire east of Rogue River, August 3rd, 2022

A second wildland firefighter has been killed in Oregon this season.

Officials report 25-year-old Logan Taylor was killed after succumbing to major injuries from being struck by a tree on Thursday at the Rum Creek Fire, north of Galice. Taylor is from Talent, Oregon.

Dispatchers were alerted to the incident shortly after 4:00 P.M. on Thursday. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team was deployed to help transport Taylor to the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Talyor was the owner and operator of Sasquatch Reforestation, an ODF-contracted firefighting company.

“We are extremely saddened by the passing of Logan Taylor," says ODF Southwest Oregon District Forester Tyler McCarty in an emailed release Friday. "This loss is deeply felt by our ODF family and throughout the wildland fire community as a whole."

Firefighters have been battling nearly 50 small blazes in Jackson and Josephine counties, caused by lighting strikes on Wednesday night.

Earlier this month, firefighter Collin Hagan was also killed after being struck by a tree while working at the Big Swamp fire near Oakridge.

This Josephine County fatality will be the sixth wildland firefighter killed nationally this year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

On a separate fire in Jackson County on Thursday, a firefighter had to be removed from the line and treated for heat-related illness.

ODF officials say their teams will be taking time to discuss these incidents and ensure firefighters are prioritizing safety when out in the field.

"Safety remains our top priority," McCarty says. "ODF and our partners are committed to learning from this accident and to doing everything we can to reduce the risk of similar incidents occurring in the future."

Teams in both counties have made significant progress in containing the recent wildfires. Out of the 48 fires confirmed, 17 have been fully extinguished and the remaining 31 are being lined and mopped up. No homes have been threatened and no evacuation orders are in place.

Updated: August 19, 2022 at 2:20 PM PDT
This story has been updated to include the name of the firefighter and where the incident occurred.
After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast.