The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed this morning that, while battling the Ferguson Fire on the Sierra National Forest, Hughes was fatally injured.
Hughes was originally from Hilo, Hawaii, and had been with the Arrowhead Interagency Hot Shots for four years, according to the NPS Fire Information Office.
The incident occurred just before 9:30 a.m. At the time, the firefighter and his crew were engaged in a tactical firing operation on the east side of the fire. They were operating in an area with a large amount of tree mortality. The firefighter was struck by a tree. He was treated on scene, but passed away before he could be transported to a hospital.
“The team at Sequoia and Kings National Park is devastated by this terrible news,” says Parks Superintendent Woody Smeck. “Our deepest condolences go out to the firefighter’s family and loved ones. We grieve this loss with you.”
Firefighters and citizens lined the route this afternoon as Hughes was escorted to the Stanislaus County Coroner’s office in Modesto, Calif.
This is the second firefighter fatality on the Ferguson Fire. Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was killed on July 14, when his dozer rolled in steep terrain.