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Forest Service Fire Chief Dies After Fighting Railroad Fire

Fish Camp, CA — A US Forest Service Battalion Chief from Pismo Beach, who was returning home after helping battle the 1,900 acre Railroad Fire outside of Yosemite, died in a traffic accident.

Governor Jerry Brown has issued a statement sending deepest condolences to Chief Gary Helming’s family, friends and colleagues and has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff. Helming was a 22-year veteran of the US Forest Service and served in a variety of roles, most recently as a battalion chief stationed in Santa Maria in the Los Padres National Forest. He is survived by his wife and three children. The crash happened Thursday morning on Highway 41.