Wildfire kills two forest rangers in Florida

A firefighter attempts to put out a fire in northern Florida Emergency workers were battling more than 400 wildfires across Florida on Tuesday

Related Stories

A wildfire in Florida has claimed the lives of two forest rangers, as emergency services continue to battle more than 400 blazes across the state.

The rangers had been trying contain a 12-acre (4.8-ha) blaze near the Georgia border, but the fire flared up and trapped them, officials said.

Two others were injured trying to save Josh Burch, 31, and Brett Fulton, 52.

The news comes as responders continue to battle thousands of fires in regions of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.

The fire in which the rangers died - the Blue Ribbon Fire in Florida's Hamilton County - was burning roughly 85 miles (136 km) north-east of the city of Tallahassee and had previously been considered contained.

"The wildfires have ravaged our state, burning more than 200,000 acres, and now, they have taken the lives of two of our very own men," Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said in a statement.

The deaths mark the first time anyone working for the Florida Division of Forestry has died from fighting a blaze since 2000, when a helicopter pilot crashed after dumping water on a wildfire near the town of Fort Myers.

Burned trees are seen after a wildfire moved across part of a forest in Florida Wildfires have burned more than 200,000 acres of land in Florida since 1 May 2011

"The weather can change in Florida very quickly and that's what we experienced," state forestry director Jim Karels told the Associated Press news agency.

Meanwhile, a fast-moving fire in Grimes County in Texas destroyed about 35 homes on Tuesday, after burning more than 4,000 acres.

The blaze was started when homeowners near the town of Stoneham lost control of a fire in their grill.

The largest of the US wildfires is considered to be the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, which officials said on Tuesday had burned more than 525,000 acres and was 56% contained.

Roughly 10,400 firefighters are involved in efforts to contain wildfires across the US, with more than 7,000 of them in Arizona and New Mexico, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More US & Canada stories



  • The OfficeIn pictures

    Fifty landmark shows from 50 years of BBC Two

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa

  • Peter MatthiessenPeter and Paddy

    Remembering two of the greatest travel writers

  • Worcestershire flagFlying the flag

    Preserving the identities of England's counties

  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.