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Release Date: 06/27/09
Contacts: Lynn Barclay, BLM, 970-826-5096    
  David Boyd, BLM, 970-319-4130    
  Steve Segin, RMACC, 303-445-4322    

BLM fire engine captain killed in accident

CRAIG, Colo.— A Bureau of Land Management firefighter was killed yesterday in an accident working a hazard-tree removal project.
Brett Stearns, 29, of Craig, Colo., was killed during a hazard tree abatement project at Freeman Reservoir, 15 miles northeast of Craig. The accident is currently under investigation.
Stearns was working on the project with about 12 other BLM firefighters when he was struck by a falling tree at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday. He was pronounced dead on-scene.
Stearns was an engine captain and had worked in the fire program for the BLM Little Snake Field Office in Craig since 1999. He is survived by his wife, mother, father, one brother, and half sister.
Little Snake Field Manager John Husband said, "On behalf of the Little Snake Field Office and the Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit, I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Brett Stearns. He dedicated his life to protecting the lives and property of the public. Firefighting is a dangerous profession and firefighter safety is the number one priority on fires and projects such as this. A detailed investigation is being conducted by a federal accident investigation team."

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 06-30-2009