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ID Of USFS Firefighter Killed While Battling Blaze Released

U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Forest Service firefighter Michael Hallenbeck, 21, of Shingle Springs, died after being struck by a tree while battling the Sierra Fire.

U.S. Forest Service

7:30 p.m. - Authorities have released the identity of a U.S. Forest Service firefighter who died Saturday aftenoon while battling a wildfire in the Lake Tahoe area.
 
Michael Hallenbeck, 21 years old from Shingle Springs, Calif., was struck by a tree during the initial attack on the Sierra Fire, burning south of Echo Summit. The incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m.
 
Hallenbeck was a member of Organized Crew on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
 
The U.S. Forest Service released the following statement:
 
"Our hearts go out to the family, friends and fellow crewmembers of this brave firefighter," said U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore.  "The loss of any member of our Forest Service family is a tragedy.  The grief we are feeling at the sudden loss of two of our firefighters; Dave Ruhl last week on the Modoc National Forest and now Mike Hallenbeck on the Basin, reminds us of the sacrifices these men and women make every day."
The Sierra Fire is one of several dozen lightning-caused fires that began on multiple National Forests in Northern California on Saturday.

7 a.m. - The U.S. Forest Service says one of its firefighters was killed Saturday evening in the Lake Tahoe area after he was struck by a tree while battling a wildfire.

The agency says in a news release that the firefighter was hit about 5:30 p.m. while working in a remote area between the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and Eldorado National Forest. The release did not identify him or provide an age.

The Forest Service says a second male firefighter who was also injured in the incident has been treated and released from a nearby hospital.

A statement from the Forest Service includes more details of the incident:

It is with great sorrow we must confirm the loss of a U.S. Forest Service wildland firefighter this evening in the Lake Tahoe area. The fire crew member succumbed to injuries suffered when struck by a tree during initial firefighting efforts on a new wildfire named the “Sierra” Fire. The incident occurred at approximately 5:30pm in a remote area between the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Eldorado National Forest.



A second firefighter who was also injured in the incident has been treated and released from a local hospital. Additional information will be forthcoming as details become available.

-AP and Capital Public Radio staff