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2 Fullerton firefighters found in Yosemite after going missing during backpacking trip

Two missing Fullerton Fire Department firefighters were found Tuesday after they disappeared during a six-day backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park, officials said.

Javier Avelar, a firefighter and paramedic, and fire Capt. Dave Brown were reported missing after they failed to return Sunday from their trip, according to park officials.

Brown, 21-year veteran of the department, walked into a ranger station during an intense search in the park Tuesday morning, said fire Battalion Chief Kathy Schaefer.

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“He was safe,” she said. “He is going to be medically cleared.”

Avelar, who has been with the department for four years, was later found and was safe, she said.

“It’s really good news,” Schaefer said. “It was really emotional for us.”

The experienced hikers planned to start their annual trip in White Wolf, then head through Pleasant Valley over Rancheria Mountain. From there, Avelar and Brown were supposed to stay on the northern side of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir at the backpackers camp.

After spending some time at the campsite, the friends planned to hike along a road to Smith Meadow trail.

Avelar and Brown were supposed to exit White Wolf on Sunday, park officials said.

Volunteers from the fire department assisted in the search efforts, Schaefer said.

“We are a fire family,” she said.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter

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UPDATES:

1:10 p.m.: This article was updated with the firefighters being found.

This article was originally published at 10:05 a.m.


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