Christian Johnson remains in Critical Condition
OKANOGAN – A Go Fund Me Account and a special bank account have been set up for Okanogan’s Assistant Fire Chief Christian Johnson, who suffered burns over 60 percent of of his body fighting the Spring Coulee Fire south of Okanogan last week.
Johnson suffered second and third degree burns and is currently in a medically-induced coma at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Johnson remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit and is likely facing a minimum of two to three months in intensive care. He will undergo skin graft surgery after hospital staff can stabilize his condition.
Johnson was on scene Sunday, Sept. 1 at the Spring Coulee Fire south of Okanogan, which eventually grew to 142 acres. Authorities have determined that Johnson and another firefighter were outside of his brush truck on the north end of the fire when he was overcome by flames. The other firefighter was able to outrun the fire, but came back to try to treat Johnson and call for help, officials said.
“The fire was coming over the hill… then the fire overtook him,” said Maurice Goodall of Okanogan County Emergency Management.
Johnson has served his country as a sergeant in the Army, and was deployed with the Washington State National Guard from November 2003 to May 2005 in Baghdad. He retired after 22 years of service and has volunteered for the Okanogan Fire Department for 20 years. He currently works as the Building Inspector/Permit Administrator for the cities of Okanogan, Oroville and Tonasket.
“Christian is a selfless man, who is always willing to help those in need, and never asks for anything in return. We are now asking for your help to make this long journey a little easier for him and his family. Any amount of donations are greatly appreciated and will go towards helping the family with travel, housing, food, etc.,” said Goodall.
More than $23,000 has been donated for the injured firefighter with over 300 people donating to the GoFundMe account created Wednesday, Sept. 4. to help Johnson’s family with expenses. An account is also set up at North Cascades Bank under the Christian Johnson Donation account.
If anyone would like to make a donation, they may use the GO FUND ME account at https://www.gofundme.com/f/donations-for-assistant-chief-christian-johnson. or make a donation to: Christian Johnson Donation Account at North Cascades Bank, P.O Box 672, Okanogan WA 98840.
Hilary Franz, Washington state Public Lands Commissioner said the state is still in a dangerous fire season and there are still dry conditions on the ground.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not worried that one of our firefighters is going to get hurt…” Franz said. “I’m very familiar with the potential of risk. I think it’s a reminder to us of how much our firefighters put their lives on the line for us every single day. And that we can’t take that for granted. And that we need to do everything in our ability to keep them safe.”
Recent rains have helped to relieve dry conditions, at least temporarily, but the region was hit with lightning storms just last weekend.