This article has been updated with new information
OKANOGAN – Christian Johnson, the Assistant Fire Chief for Okanogan County Fire District #3, was injured while fighting the Spring Coulee Fire south of Okanogan on Sunday, Sept. 1, according to Okanogan County Emergency Management.
Johnson was treated by Lifeline Ambulance before being airlifted directly from the scene to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to Maurice Goodall director of Okanogan County Emergency Management.
“He is currently in a medically induced coma. He has second and third degree burns over 50 to 60 percent of his body and his airway has been scored a two out of four for damage. Four being the worst,” said Goodall. “They are attempting to stabilize him so they can perform surgery for skin grafts.
An account is being set up at a local Okanogan County bank to assist the affected family with whatever may be needed during their crisis. As well as being the Assistant Fire Chief for Fire District #3, Johnson has served as the Building Official/Permit Administrator for Oroville, Tonasket and Okanogan for many years.
The Spring Coulee Fire started at approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 just off B & O Road North, between Fletcher Loop Road and Spring Coulee Road. The fire quickly spread to the north, staying between Fletcher Loop Road and Spring Coulee Road. Fire District #3 Omak, Okanogan and Malott, along with Fire District #7 Riverside and Fire District #9 Conconully Rural, were dispatched to the fire.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) dispatched four Fire Boss aircraft, two from Omak and two from Deer Park, along with a helicopter from Omak. DNR also had six fire engines and a 20-person crew fighting the fire.
At approximately 5:30 p.m., after burning nearly 142 acres, the Spring Coulee Fire was contained and in mop-up stage. The DNR monitored the fire through the night and continued mop-up operations on Monday. Their fire investigators are currently investigating the cause of the fire.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by the DNR.