USFA: California Battalion Chief Killed in Crash

Chief Helming was returning from the Railroad Fire



The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Battalion Chief Gary Helming, 47, of the Los Padres National Forest – Santa Lucis District on August 31, 2017.

While returning from an assignment on the Railroad Fire in the Sierra National Forest, Battalion Chief Gary Helming was killed when a Ford F-350 traveling in the opposite direction suffered a tire failure, crossed the middle of the road, and struck Chief Helming’s vehicle head-on.

Tribute is being paid to Battalion Chief Helming at

To date, 66 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2017. Year-to-date and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online at


Fatality status is provisional and may change as USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify fatality incident information.


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