MARIPOSA COUNTY – Mariposa-Madera-Merced Cal Fire (MMU), with the assistance of California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 5, has been successful in the recovery of Cal Fire Heavy Fire Equipment Operator (HFEO) Braden Varney, from the accident site within the Ferguson Fire.
The next phase will be the escort of HFEO Braden Varney to the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office.
If members of the public wish to pay respects to HFEO Varney while he is escorted, they are welcome to line the travel route.
The procession will start at 3 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 49 South and Darrah Road, proceed past Cal Fire Headquarters to Mt. Bullion Cutoff Road, along Highway 140 to Merced, up Highway 99 to Oakdale Road in Modesto. Please see the travel route below.
HFEO Braden Varney was tragically killed on July 14, 2018 while assigned to the Ferguson Fire on the Sierra National Forest. He leaves behind a wife and two small children.
The extremely difficult terrain in which the dozer crashed and the inherent dangers of moving it has delayed the process of bringing Braden home.
“But he hasn’t been alone,” says Cal Fire spokesperson Jeremy Rahn. “Cal Fire and our Honor Guard have been by his side the entire time.”
Braden’s Cal Fire family asks everyone to please continue to keep Braden, his loved ones and all responders on the front lines in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to work under extremely challenging conditions.