Brian Hughes, Captain

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Captain Hughes and other firefighters were assigned to the Ferguson Fire on the edge of a spot fire.  They were in the process of felling a high hazard tree, a 105-foot tall ponderosa pine that was burning about 10 feet from its top and producing a steady stream of embers.  The tree fell in an unexpected manner and Captain Hughes was fatally struck.  He was treated by firefighters and emergency medical responders, but he was pronounced dead as he was flown to the helibase.

Additional information about this incident is available at https://www.wildfirelessons.net/home.  Use the search function to find “Ferguson Fire Tree Strike Fatality”.

Incident Location: East Side of Ferguson Wildland Fire (U.S. National Grid: U.S. National Grid: 11S KB 5404 6626 (DD: 37.611, -119.787))

Department information

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, California 93271

Chief: Superintendent Woody Smeck

Brian Hughes was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 33
Rank: Captain
Classification: Wildland Full-Time
Incident date: July 29, 2018 09:20
Date of death: July 29, 2018
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Other
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property