Three firefighters, burned Monday afternoon when a wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest jumped the Cajon Pass and overran their fire engine, are from the Tuolumne-Calaveras County CDF unit based at the Esperanza fire station.
CDF Battalion Chief Richard Imlach says Fire Captain Tom Lotko of Modesto, and firefighters Stacy Gleason from Calaveras County, and Patrick Ousby of Jackson, were part of a CDF strike team dispatched to the Bluecut fire in the San Bernardino mountains near Interstate 15, 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
The engine crew was involved in what´s called a “firing-out” operation on a dozer-line, when erratic winds drove the fire back on top of them and their fire engine.
The three firefighters sustained minor first and second-degree burns to the hands and face. They also suffered minor smoke inhalation, Imlach said.
The three men were taken to Arrowhead Regional Hospital for treatment and were kept overnight for observation. They were released around 3 p.m. Tuesday on their way home by airplane.
The fire engine sustained moderate burn damage, Imlach said, and will have to be transported by truck back to its home station for repairs.
Bluecut Fire has burned more than 7,000 acres in the National Forest, and is 15 percent contained.