USFA: California On-Duty Death

Varney was working on a ridge to create a fire break



The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Firefighter/Equipment Operator Braden Varney, 36, of CAL FIRE on July 14, 2018.

Firefighter/Equipment Operator Braden Varney was assigned to the Madera-Mariposa CAL FIRE unit, which has been fighting the 130-acre Ferguson Fire in the Sierra National Forest. On 7/14/2018, Firefighter/Equipment Operator Varney was working on a ridge to create a fire break. The bulldozer Varney was operating overturned and rolled down the ridge causing Varney to suffer fatal injuries. The wreckage was spotted by airplane on 07/15/2018 and crews reached the site and removed Varney’s body on 07/16/2018. The accident is being investigated by Cal/OSHA.

Tribute is being paid to Firefighter/Equipment Operator Varney at

To date, 53 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2018. 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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