Craig-based wildland firefighter dies while fighting Oregon wildfire

Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 19:06:03-04

DENVER — A wildland firefighter based out of Craig, Colorado, has died while fighting the Big Swamp Fire in Oregon.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon confirmed 27-year-old Collin Hagan died after being hit by a tree.

A 911 call came in shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 to report a firefighter had been critically injured from the tree during firefighting efforts near Oakridge, Oregon. Despite lifesaving efforts, he did not survive the injuries.

“It is a sad day in public safety,” Sheriff John Hanlin said. “On behalf of the men and women of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to Firefighter Hagan’s family, friends, co-workers and all who knew this brave young man.”

Hagan is from Toivola, Michigan, but he was assigned to the Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew based out of Craig.

A REACH Air Medical Services helicopter flew Hagan’s body from the Toketee Airstrip to the Roseburg Regional Airport. First responders stood together in his honor as he arrived and provided an honor escort to the funeral home.

The Big Swamp fire and several others in the area were started by lightning strikes about 10 days ago, according to the Associated Press. Fire crews have kept it to about two-tenths of a square mile in size, which is approximately 128 acres.

The National Interagency Fire Center reports there have been nearly 41,000 wildfires to date, with roughly 5.9 million acres burned.

The center confirmed it has been an above average year for wildland firefighters deaths. There have been 20 line-of-duty deaths in 2022 so far when wildland firefighters were on official firefighting duties, including seven aviation deaths, three vehicle accidents, three medical-related deaths and two hazard/tree fatalities — which includes Hagan's death. There are an average of 15 wildland firefighter deaths per year, according to the center. The deadliest recent year was in 2013 when 34 wildland firefighters died, including 19 of the 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew during the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.

There have been 66 firefighters who have died in 2022 in the U.S., according to the U.S. Fire Administration.