Man suffers medical issue, dies on Oregon fire line

Kevin Hall, 59, is third person to die in Oregon this month fighting fires

VALE — A 59-year-old man died over the weekend while working on a fire line in southeastern Oregon.

Kevin Hall apparently suffered a medical issue Saturday while he was working for a bulldozer contractor on the Grassy Mountain fire, about 60 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho, said Carolyn Chad, associate manager for the federal Bureau of Land Management's local district.

Hall, from Ontario, was found unresponsive in a pickup truck. BLM workers and another fire contractor administered CPR but could not revive him.

Hall was supporting a bulldozer crew as it worked to repair an existing fire line, Chad said.

"He drove the low-boy that hauled the dozer in," Chad told KTVZ-TV. "Typically, that guy will follow the dozer, in case they need oil or have any kind of mechanical problem.

"The crew came by, thought something was wrong, went to the pickup, tapped the window, got no response, opened the door and began life-saving efforts."

Hall is the third person to die in Oregon this month while fighting wildfires.

John Hammack, 58, of Madras, was killed Aug. 1 by a falling tree while removing hazardous trees in the path of a small wildfire in the remote Mount Washington Wilderness Area in the high Cascades. Jesse Trader, 19, was killed Aug. 6 in a water truck crash while fighting a fire in Southern Oregon.

At least 27 other crew members have been killed in the U.S. this wildfire season.

Nineteen firefighters died June 30 near Yarnell, Ariz., after a shift in the wind cut off their escape route. It was the largest loss of life for firefighters in a single event since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in in New York.

According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, the Douglas Complex fire was at 45,411 acres, or nearly 71 square miles, and is 48 percent contained. There are 545 structures threatened in the wildfire.

The complex is made up of the Milo fire, the Rabbit Mountain fire, the Dad's Creek fire and the Farmer's fire. The Oregon Army National Guard is providing personnel and aviation assets to help with fire suppression, according to the NWCC. Fire fighting efforts were helped overnight thanks to some rain in the area. One spot received 1.28 inches in 28 minutes. However, with the rain, comes the issue of slippery roads and trails.

The Big Windy Complex, about 25 miles northwest of Grants Pass was at 15,238 acres, or nearly 24 square miles, as of Sunday morning, according to the NWCC. The fire is only 14 percent contained, with 83 structures threatened. The three fires in this complex burned together on Tuesday, Aug 6. The Rogue River's wild section remains closed from Graves Creek to Mule Creek.

The lightning-caused Whiskey Complex was at 16.65 square miles and 40 percent contained.

The Labrador fire near Cave Junction was at 2,020 acres as of Sunday morning and is zero percent contained. There are 47 structures threatened.


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