Incident Name: River Fire, Mendicino Complex
Date:  8/13/2018
Personnel:  Matthew Burchett, from the Draper City UT Fire Department
Age:  42
Agency/Organization:  CAL FIRE
Position:  Battalion Chief, firefighter


Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett was injured while on the fire line of the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex fire north of San Francisco, California. Burchett was airlifted to a local hospital where he passed away from the injuries he sustained. The nature and cause of fatal injury are still to be reported. Burchett was one of five firefighters sent from the Draper City Fire Department in Utah to help fight the California wildland fires through a mutual aid agreement with CAL FIRE.

Incident Location: Ranch Fire, Mendocino Complex Fire, CA (off Highway 20 near Potter Valley, northeast of Ukiah) (U.S. National Grid: 10S DJ 8937 5205 (DD: 39.318, -123.123))

Matthew Burchett

Matthew Burchett

Matthew Burchett and fellow firefighters

Matthew Burchett & fellow firefighters


Incident Location: Ranch Fire, Mendocino Complex Fire, CA (off Highway 20 near Potter Valley, northeast of Ukiah) (U.S. National Grid: 10S DJ 8937 5205 (DD: 39.318, -123.123))

{mosmap lat=’39.318’|lon=’-123.123’|marker=’0’|text=’Approximate accident location’}

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

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Media Articles and Reports

  • MENDOCINO COMPLEX CLAIMS THE LIFE OF ONE FIREFIGHTER AND MORE ACRES8/14/18 | Kym Kemp article onlineYesterday, the massive Mendocino Complex took the life of a firefighter from Utah. Last night, at a press conference, authorities announced that a firefighter from Utah was injured and carried to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.Today, the Draper City Fire Department announced that the firefighter belonged to their department. (More at the link…)
  • Draper City Fire Department Facebook page:Press Release 8/14/2018 from Draper City.1020 East Pioneer Rd.
    Draper, UT 84020

    Media Release

    August 14, 2018

    Draper Battalion Chief Dies Fighting Mendocino Fire

    DRAPER, Utah. – It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the tragic loss of one of our own. Last night while fighting the Mendocino Complex Wildfire in California, Draper Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett lost his life in the line of duty. Draper deployed five fire fighters to California on August 2nd, and the team has worked tirelessly to protect lives and property. The entire community of Draper is grieving our loss.

    Chief Burchett came to Draper City Fire Department in May of this year. Prior to working for Draper, he worked for Unified Fire Authority for the past 20 years. Chief Burchett had extensive experience in wildland and structure fire. Chief Burchett leaves behind a wife and a young son. He was 42 years old.

    This is not only a loss for our Draper Fire Department, but a loss for all fire departments in the Nation.

    We appreciate all the heartfelt support from the Draper Community, Cal Fire, the State of Utah, and our family of firefighters from across the nation.

    At this time, we ask for some privacy for Chief Burchett’s family as they process this tragedy.

    In the coming days we will have information about funeral plans, a donation fund for Matt’s family and more details as they become available.

  • Firefighter who died battling Mendocino Complex fires mourned by Utah town08/14/2018 | Press Democrat online article…Burchett was battling flames downstream of Lake Pillsbury’s Scott Dam when he was hit by a falling tree, said Todd Derum, Cal Fire Division Chief for Sonoma County. Three others from Kings County, near Fresno, also were injured, he said. The Lake Pillsbury section of the fire includes some of the toughest current firefights.Cal Fire officials would not release any information about the accident… (More at the link…)

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Press release from the Mendocino Complex agencies: Procession for Chief Matthew Burchett as he is returned home to UtahCAL FIRE Honor Guard and family will be escorting Battalion Chief Matt Burchett from Ukiah to Salt Lake City, Utah. The procession will begin today August 15, 2018 at approximately 2:30 p.m. at the Eversole Mortuary located at 141 Low Gap Road in Ukiah concluding at the Sonoma County Airport located at 2200 Airport Blvd in Santa Rosa.The procession route will proceed north on North State Street, to west Lake Mendocino Drive, entering the 101 southbound, taking exit 495B onto Airport Blvd traveling west to the Sonoma County Airport. A link for directions and route can be found here: wanting to view the procession are asked to be in a safe area and line the streets of Ukiah or Santa Rosa along the procession route. Please stay off State Highway 101, law enforcement from multiple agencies will be involved during the procession. Please adhere to any instructions they may have along the route.Again, we ask for privacy for the family during this difficult time.
  • Governor Brown Issues Statement on Death of Utah Fire Battalion Chief Working on California Wildfires
    Published: Aug 14, 2018

    SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the death of Draper City Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett, who passed away while working on the Mendocino Complex wildfires in Northern California:

    “Firefighters from across the nation – and world – have selflessly battled California’s massive wildfires, and sadly today we mourn the loss of one of those heroes from Draper, Utah, Chief Matthew Burchett. Our hearts ache for his wife and young son, family members, loved ones, colleagues with the Draper City Fire Department and the entire State of Utah.”

    Chief Burchett, 42, was deployed to the California wildfires earlier this month, along with four other firefighters from Draper, Utah. He had worked with his local fire department since May and previously served 20 years with the Greater Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority.

    In honor of Chief Burchett, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

  • CAL FIRE Mendocino Facebook shows the procession from Covelo.
  • USFA Memorial Database: Matthew Burchett

Matthew Burchett shield

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