Oregon firefighter passes away after fighting Alabama wildfires

Birmingham, Ala. — An Oregon smokejumper who was seriously injured while he was in the southeastern U.S. battling wildfires has passed away.

Just before Thanksgiving Day, Redmond resident Ray Rubio had just completed a fire assignment in Birmingham, Alabama when he was involved in a serious accident. Rubio was critically injured and admitted to a Birmingham hospital.

A journal entry written by Redmond Smokejumpers on Rubio’s CaringBridge web page said he passed away just before 6:00 p.m. on December 19th in Birmingham.

According to his family, Rubio served in the US Army as a member of the 82nd Airborne. He began his smokejumper career in Redmond in 1995.

Rubio’s family wrote in part on his GoFundMe page, “Ray Rubio is beloved husband of Julie, and brother of Yvonne and Robert. He is a committed and caring father. He is a close friend to countless smokejumpers and members of the wildland firefighter community. Ray’s personality and friendship has touched many of our lives in the firefighting community. Ray’s sense of humor and unstoppable work ethic have won us all over, claiming our hearts and creating enduring, fun-filled memories.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued this statement after Rubio’s death:  “The loss of one of Oregon’s own is heartbreaking, and I extend my sincere condolences to Ray’s family, friends, and the firefighting community who knew him well,” Governor Brown said. “Ray will be remembered as a loving husband and father who dedicated his life to service and helping others.”

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