MARIPOSA — A four-mile stretch of State Route 140 will soon be renamed in honor of Braden Varney, the Cal Fire firefighter from Mariposa who lost his life last summer while battling the Ferguson Fire.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 47 (ACR 47) was introduced by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow to honor Varney, who was killed in July 2018 when the bulldozer he was operating on the fire line rolled down a steep embankment.
Bigelow’s resolution designates a 4.2-mile stretch of State Route 140 in Mariposa County as Cal-Fire Firefighter Braden Varney Memorial Highway.
Passed by the state legislature earlier this spring, the resolution was filed with the Secretary of State’s office on July 8.
The measure authorizes the Department of Transportation “to determine the cost of appropriate signs showing this special designation and, upon receiving donations from non-state sources covering that cost, erect those signs.”
The section of State Route 140 that will honor Varney runs from State Route 49 to Triangle Road.
A dedication ceremony is expected to take place later this year, according to Bigelow’s office.
The formal language of ACR 47, the Braden Varney Memorial Highway bill, states:
WHEREAS, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney passed away in the line of duty on July 14, 2018, at 36 years of age, while battling the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County, California; and
WHEREAS, Braden Varney is survived by his mother, Lynn; loving wife, Jessica; daughter, Maleah; son, Nolan; and sister, Chale’; and
WHEREAS, Braden Varney was born in Mariposa County on May 12, 1982, and was raised there; and
WHEREAS, During his high school years in Mariposa County, Braden’s favorite sport was baseball, from which he was known for hitting home runs; and
WHEREAS, Braden loved helping others, building quality relationships, creating memorable moments, sharing his knowledge, and making everyone feel special; and
WHEREAS, Braden was incredibly close to everyone in his life and was a friend to all; and
WHEREAS, In his private life, Braden loved houseboating, riding motorcycles, camping, shooting, fishing, and operating equipment; and
WHEREAS, Braden Varney was a 10-year veteran of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, having followed in the footsteps of his late father, Gordie Varney, another department heavy fire equipment operator who also perished in the line of duty; and
WHEREAS, Throughout Braden’s life, he generously donated thousands of dollars worth of time and equipment to build and maintain the road to the Barrier-Sweetwater Youth Camp in Mariposa County; and
WHEREAS, Braden and his father simply loved Sam Hensley’s vision and wanted to support “getting the kids to camp”; and
WHEREAS, On July 14, 2018, Braden was operating his bulldozer on the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County and, during the early morning hours, his bulldozer experienced a rollover that resulted in Braden’s passing; and
WHEREAS, We pause to honor Braden Varney for his dedication to public service and for his ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty; and
WHEREAS, Braden Varney exemplified the professionalism, work ethic, dedication, and self-sacrifice for which Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters are known, and he will never be forgotten.