Klamath County, Ore. -- There's sad news tonight to report from the fire lines, as Southern Oregon's 2014 fire season claims a life.
Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah said around 6:30 to 7 Tuesday night, 21-year-old Matthew David Goodnature from Phoenix, stepped on a rock, slipped, and fell on a downed tree.
The lower part of his back hit. Authorities said it appears he broke his back and died. It happened while Goodnature was on a break from fighting the Launch Fire near Fourmile Lake in Klamath County.
One detective said there's no evidence to suggest it was anything other than an accident.
"It does not appear at this time that there is any criminal action taking place, but that's preliminary because we haven't discovered anything of that nature," said Detective Nick Kennedy with the Klamath County Sheriff's Office.
The entire fire fighting community, friends and family are mourning the young firefighter.
Matthew's mom, Judy Goodnature said this was his second season as a wildland firefighter. She said he loved his job, his crew and liked doing something important with his life.
Matthew Goodnature graduated from Phoenix High School in 2011 and had recently moved from Portland back to Medford.
On Wednesday afternoon the Forest Service put out a statement saying:
"The Forest [Service] and the entire wildland fire community are saddened by the tragic loss of one of our firefighters. Our hearts go out to their family, friends and co-workers,” said Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor for the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
Goodnature's mom also said her son was always extremely loving and never hung up the phone without saying 'I love you.'
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