Grayback Forestry mourning loss of a fellow firefighter

Missoula, Mont. — Grayback Forestry is mourning the death of one of its firefighters Thursday. The local contracting company said 19-year-old Trenton Johnson was killed yesterday while fighting a forest fire on the Sealy Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest in Montana.

It was Johnson’s first year working for the company. Grayback Forestry said he was part of a 20-person team. He was killed when part of a tree fell on him.

“There was a group of four individuals, including the crew boss that this top broke out and it almost got all four of them – but three got out of the way and one did not,” said Michael Wheelock, president of Grayback Forestry.

Grayback Forestry said standing, dying trees – also known as ‘snags’ – are a leading cause for death or injury for firefighters. Johnson was a Montana State University student from Missoula.

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