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Firefighter dies battling Middle Fork Complex in Lane County

The Middle Fork Complex is at 16,000 acres and 10% contained.
The Middle Fork Complex is at 16,000 acres and 10% contained.

A firefighter has died while working the Gales Fire within the Middle Fork Complex, just north of Oakridge, according to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. Officials said the firefighter was killed in an accident on Monday.

Frumencio Ruiz Carapia, 56, of Medford, Oregon, was working along the eastern edge of the Gales fire when he was struck by a falling tree, according to a news release Tuesday from Lane County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Speldrich.

Despite immediate efforts by those around him, Ruiz Carapia died at the scene, the news release said. No other injuries were reported. An investigation showed the accident wasn’t the result of any tree cutting but that the tree unexpectedly snapped and fell to the ground.

Nearly 600 personnel are working on the Gales Fire. As of Tuesday it had burned 16,000 acres and was 10% contained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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