The U.S. Forest Service confirmed that one of the wild land firefighters died battling a fire in Lake Tahoe.
The firefighter, who has been identified as 21-year-old Mike Hallenbeck of Shingle Springs, died after he was struck by a tree during initial firefighting efforts to contain the Sierra Fire.
“Our hearts go out to the family, friends and fellow crewmembers of this brave firefighter,” said U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore. “The loss of any member of our Forest Service family is a tragedy. The grief we are feeling at the sudden loss of two of our firefighters; Dave Ruhl last week on the Modoc National Forest and now Mike Hallenbeck on the Basin, reminds us of the sacrifices these men and women make every day.”
The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. in a remote area between the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Eldorado National Forest.
A second firefighter who was also injured in the incident has been treated and released from an area hospital.
The Sierra fire was sparked by lightning near Echo Summit, near South Lake Tahoe on Saturday.
The fire has burned just one-tenth of an acre and is about 75 percent contained.