Request from family of fallen Utah firefighter: ‘Hug those around you’

SALT LAKE CITY — Battalion Chief Matt Burchett of Draper City Fire Department died Monday while fighting the Mendocino Complex wildfire in California.

Since then, Burchett’s family has received numerous inquiries from people who want to know what they can do to help them.

On Thursday, Unified Fire Authority shared a simple message from the Burchett family.

On behalf of Chief Burchett, the family wishes to convey one general message: When asked what people can do to help the family… “Take the opportunity to hug those around you hold them tight and don’t take our fragile lives for granted.”

According to Cal Fire Public Information Officer Heather Williams, Burchett was injured when a tree fell on him while he was fighting the fire.

Draper City said Burchett was injured near Pillsbury, California and say advanced life support was given immediately before he was airlifted by a Medevac helicopter to Ukiah Valley Medical Center.

Burchett, 42, joined the Draper City Fire Department in May of this year, and prior to that he served for 20 years with Unified Fire Authority. He had extensive experience fighting wildland and structure fires.

Burchett leaves behind a wife and a son.

Funeral services for Burchett are tentatively planned for Monday,  August 20 at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.