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Draper Journal

Draper mourns loss of firefighter in California wildfires

Aug 14, 2018 12:24PM ● By Justin Adams

Draper Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett passed away while fighting the Mendocino Complex fire in California.

By Justin Adams | [email protected]

On Tuesday morning Draper City announced the death of Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett, who had been deployed to California to help fight one of the multiple wildfires happening there.

"It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the tragic loss of one of our own. Last night while fighting the Mendocino Complex Wildfire in California, Draper Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett lost his life in the line of duty," read the city's press release.

Burchett, 42, had over 20 years of experience with Unified Fire Authority and had joined the Draper Fire Department this year. He was one of five other Draper firefighters sent to California on August 2nd. During a press conference, Draper Mayor Troy Walker said the four others will be coming back to Utah. 

"These men are American heroes. They literally go out and stand in the fire to help other people," said Walker.

"It's tough, anytime we lose a brother. It's hard," said Bart Vawdrey, one of the city's other Battalion Chiefs, who knew Burchett for over twenty years. "The department is heartbroken at this point."

"He's one of the most knowledgeable wild land firefighters that I know," continued Vawdrey. "He jumped at the chance to go help in California."

The Mendocino Complex fire is the largest in California history at over 283,000 acres, according to ABC news

In the coming days Draper City will have additional information about a funeral service as well as a donation fund for Burchett's wife and son.