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The latest on major Northern California news events from the Bee newsroom.

June 11, 2008
Latest on injured Lincoln firefighters
From Bill Lindelof:

At a press briefing involving the three burned firefighters on the outskirts of Lincoln, fire officials were guarded in their comments about the incident, declining to give names of the injured or exactly how it occurred.

Offiicials explained Wednesday afternoon that the investigation in the blaze was continuing and families had not been informed of the incident.

The media was led by a Cal Fire battalion chief into a field next to burned pasture where they could get a closer look Wednesday afternoon at two burned out wildland firefighting rigs. The rigs were at the edge of a 65 acres of burned grassland under a windbreak of spindly eucalyptus trees, that could have supplied extra fuel for the fire that scorched the dry rangeland.

Hours after the fire broke out, smoke was still coming from the rigs and tires were burned off rims of the specially built engines designed to move quickly across rugged terrain with their load of flame-killing water.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Brand said the fire broke out at about 10 a.m. and that the engines were overrun by fire. Two firefighters went by aircraft to the hospital the other in an ambulance.

The fire is contained and a Cal Fire investigation team is starting to "put the pieces of the puzzle together," said Brand. He described the firefighters injuries as "non life threatening."

He said the winds and dry grass made the fire dangerous. Cause of the fire has not been determined.

"A burnover is a wildland fire department term in which personnel are overran by fire," he said. "By definition it is where the firefighters are entrapped and the fire overruns them. I can't comment on the tactics they were deploying or how it occurred but we are referring to it as a burnover."

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