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First Responder Was One of Two Killed In Wildfire

Florida Times Union via YellowBrix

June 21, 2011

HAMILTON COUNTY, FL – Two Florida Division of Forestry firefighters were killed and two others were injured Monday while fighting the Blue Ribbon Fire in Hamilton County.

The dead firefighters were identified this morning as Josh Burch, 31, of Lake City and Brett Fulton, 52, of White Springs. Both were married with two children.

“The wildfires have ravaged our state, burning more than 200,000 acres, and now, they have taken the lives of two of our very own men,” said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of Josh Burch and Brett Fulton, two courageous heroes who sacrificed their lives for the safety of others.”

The causes of death have not been released.

Burch worked with the state’s Division of Forestry for more than ten years. Fulton began as a professional welder with forestry 12 years ago. He has been a Forest Ranger with the Department for more than nine years.

Firefighters Robert Marvin and Stephen Carpenter were injured while attempting to assist the other victims. Both were treated for smoke-related injuries and released from area hospitals.

The Blue Ribbon Fire started on June 16 but was previously declared contained. However, the extreme, dry conditions, as experienced recently throughout the state, allowed the fire to flare up again on Monday.

Since May 1, the Division of Forestry has fought more than 1,500 wildfires, which have burned more than 200,000 acres, as dry conditions have continued.