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Young firefighter dies leaving Oregon's Big Windy Fire

Aug. 7, 2013 at 8:43 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- A 19-year-old firefighter battling the Big Windy Fire in southwestern Oregon was killed leaving work, law enforcement officials said.

Jesse Trader was returning from his shift on the Big Windy complex Tuesday when the water tender he was driving hit an embankment and rolled over," the Josephine County Sheriff's Department said.

Firefighters in vehicles driving behind Trader immediately stopped to assist but efforts to save his life proved unsuccessful.

Law enforcement agencies and an accident team are investigating the cause of the crash.

"Jesse was part of the emergency response to one of the most serious fires burning in Oregon," Gov. John Kitzhaber said. "Even at such a young age, he was already contributing mightily to his community, and we owe him our gratitude for his commitment to helping protect his fellow citizens."

Fire officials in Oregon estimate it may take the entire month of August to bring the Big Windy Fire to an end.

The Oregon Department of Forestry said burnout operations continued through the night and overall good progress was made.

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