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4 firefighters injured by falling tree in KNP Complex burn zone released from hospital

A wildfire burns at night
The KNP Complex fire burns near Three Rivers, Calif., on Sept. 15. On Thursday, officials said a falling tree injured four people who were working on the fire response.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Four personnel injured Thursday afternoon by a falling tree at the KNP Complex fire were released from the hospital the following morning, authorities said.

A radio call received around 3 p.m. Thursday alerted authorities that a tree had fallen and struck four people working on the fire, which has been burning in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for a month.

All four were transported by air to area hospitals with serious injuries and were in stable condition Thursday night, according to officials, who added “we are grateful” in a statement.

One of those injured is an employee with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the others are with the California Conservation Corps, according to an update provided by the management team handling the fire.

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All four were assisting with firefighting efforts, said Cassie Adams, a spokesperson for the KNP Complex.

Since igniting from a lightning strike on Sept. 9, the KNP Complex fire has emerged as one of the highest-priority wildfires in a season marked by never-before-seen fire behavior, including two fires making the unprecedented journey from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other.

Flames consumed 85,952 acres and the fire was 11% contained as of Friday morning.

Authorities fear that high-intensity flames from the KNP Complex and Windy fires may have killed hundreds of giant sequoias as they tore through more than two dozen groves in the southern Sierra Nevada region.

Officials are surveying the area to accurately assess the damage, but said a full report could take months to arrive.


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