Fire Fighter Dies in Fall at Launch Fire in Klamath County


Klamath Falls, Ore.– A tragic accident has claimed the life of an Oregon fire fighter.

It was a fellow fire fighter who found the body of 21-year old Matthew David Goodnature on the evening of July 29th. Goodnature, who is from Phoenix, Oregon, was part of a contract fire crew assigned to the Launch Fire. Investigators say he went for a walk outside of the area where fire crews were camped. The Klamath County Sheriff’s office stated that their preliminary investigation shows that Goodnature may have tripped and fell backward, falling onto a log. The fall is believed to have broken his back, killing him.

“We are saddened by this news,” said Acting Regional Forester Becki Lockett Heath.  “The death of anyone involved with protecting life and property from wildfire affects us all. We send our thoughts and prayers from the Forest Service to all who knew and cared for him.”

The Forest and the entire wildland fire community are saddened by the tragic loss of one of our firefighters,” said Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor for the Fremont-Winema National Forest. “Our hearts go out to their family, friends and co-workers.”

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is leading the death investigation.

On July 28, the Launch Fire started in the Sky Lakes Wilderness on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. It is estimated to be around 100 acres. An investigation of the origin of the fire determined that it was human caused.  Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations has gathered evidence at the fire origin, is interviewing witnesses, and is following up on several leads.