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Two Florida firefighters killed fighting wildfires: Josh Burch, Brett Fulton

10:54 PM, Jun 22, 2011   |    comments
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Video: 2 Firefighters Killed in Line of Duty Identified

Video: 2 Firefighters Killed in Line of Duty Identified, Community

  • Brett Fulton
  • Brett Fulton
  • Brett Fulton
  • Brett Fulton
  • Josh Burch funeral held Friday

HAMILTON COUNTY, Fla. -- The Division of Forestry has identified the two firefighters who died in Hamilton County Monday night.

Josh Burch, 31, of Lake City, and Brett Fulton, 52, died while fighting the Blue Ribbon Fire in Hamilton County, according to a statement from the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Very smoky skies: Wildfire smoke in Jacksonville, South Georgia

"This one was not a big fire.  It ended up being contained at 12 acres, so not significant, but the weather can change in Florida very quickly and I think that's what we experienced there yesterday and last night," said Florida Division of Forestry Director Jim Karels.

The fire was contained, but flared up again Monday; firefighters had been working on the fire since Monday afternoon.

Burch and Fulton died after they were overcome with what fire officials call a burn over.

"Most likely in this situation the fire blew up and the winds shifted, whether it was sea breeze whatever it might be I can't speculate and the fire came over the top of them," said Karels.

"It's a very dangerous condition out there," said Division of Forestry Wildlife Mitigation Specialist Annaleasa Winter.

Burch had worked for the Division of Forestry for more than 10 years and was a forest ranger. He was married with two children.   A family member said he loved his family, life and his job.

Fulton worked for DOF for 12 years and had been a forest ranger for most of that time. He was married with two children. 

Robert Marvin and Stephen Carpenter were taken to Lake City Hospital and Shands Gainesville to be treated for smoke-related injuries, then released Monday night. Their ages and tenures were not released.

Investigators from the DOF and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement are investigating what led to the deaths and injuries at the fire, which had been burning since June 16.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the two courageous men who sacrificed their lives for the safety of others," said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in a statement. "We can rebuild the structures and restore the land, but the lives of these two heroes can never be replaced."

A vigil is planned for the firefighters Wednesday evening at the Deep Creek Community Center in Lake City.  It begins between 6 and 6:30.  A firefighter appreciation event was already scheduled for Wednesday, but will still take place with a focus on remembering the fallen firefighters.

2011 Wildfire pictures:

St. John's: St. John's County wildfires

Smoky skies: Wildfire smoke in Jacksonville, South Georgia

Flagler: Flagler county wildfires

Guana River: Guana River State Park wildfires

2011 Wildfires - related stories:

Georgia Forestry Determines Cause of Racepond, Sweat Farm Again Fires

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Community Gathers to Honor Firefighters, Say Goodbye to 2 Lost

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