PORTLAND -- A firefighter was killed Tuesday when the water truck he was driving rolled over near the Big Windy complex of fires in Southwestern Oregon.
Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson said Jesse Trader, 19, was returning the truck after working all of Monday night and into Tuesday morning at the Big Windy complex of fires. The truck hit a rural road embankment and rolled over.
Trader was taken from the scene by an air ambulance, but emergency responders were unable to revive him.
The 19-year-old had just graduated from West Albany High School with dreams of becoming a firefighter, according to his mother, Gigi. He left behind a baseball scholarship at Western Oregon University to learn more about firefighting at Chemeketa Community College.
His family drove from Albany down to Grants Pass Tuesday to identify him.
"He was a really great kid and he wanted to help others and that's why he was here," said his mother, Gigi Trader. "I have a great faith in God so I know he's in a better place. It's just us left here now that have it rough to live without him."
Jesse Trader left behind two younger siblings and a longtime girlfriend whom his mom said he planned to marry after college.
The southwestern Oregon fires were ignited by lightning late last month. They are burning in some of the state's most difficult mountain terrain, fed by vegetation parched in a widespread drought.
Trader was the second firefighter killed in Oregon during this fire season. Last week, 58-year-old John Hammack died after a burning tree fell on him near Sisters.
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According to a report by the National Wildlife Coordinating Group, the majority of firefighter deaths between 1990-2006 were caused by aviation and vehicle crashes. Read: Full Report
KGW Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino said fire danger remained high in many parts of Oregon as hot, dry weather persisted. Zaffino said the dry weather, and fire danger, were likely to continue.