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WILLOWS: Jeremy Appleyard Killed In Car Accident While Fighting Ranch Fire In The Mendocino National Forest

Oct 4, 2018

Jeremy Appleyard Died In Car Accident After His Pickup Truck Went Down Steep Embankment While He Was Working To Fight The Ranch Fire at the Mendocino National Forest

 WILLOWS, CALIFORNIA (October 3, 2018) A 43-year-old man from Oroville identified as Jeremy Lee Appleyard has tragically died in a car accident after his GMC pickup truck went down an embankment on a remote road at the Mendocino National Forest.

Police and rescue officials hadn’t seen  Jeremy Appleyar for two days and went looking for him with a helicopter crew. The crash site was eventually discovered in an eastern portion of the forest.

The search for the victim began when he never showed up for a meeting that he was supposed to attend. Investigators believe that the crash took place around 5:10 p.m. For reasons that remain under investigation his vehicle left the roadway and went down a steep embankment.

This is the second fatal accident as workers have been battling the ranch fire. Matthew Burchett also died when he was hit by a tree knocked over by a dropped load of fire retardent.

There is a GO FUND ME set up by Jeremy Appleyard’s family in order to help with funeral expenses. An investigation into the crash remains ongoing at this time.

Staying Safe While Fighting Wildfires

California has seen some of the worst forest fires in decades. It has taken a well coordinated effort from state officials and agencies outside of the state in order to contain them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that firefighting agencies take the following steps in order to help keep workers safe.

  • Train firefighters on the dangers associated with heat stress.

  • Use relief firefighters for tasks that are physically demanding.

  • Provide workers with rest periods and water breaks.

  • Monitor workers for signs of heat stress.

  • Avoid drinks with high amounts of caffeine or sugar.

Fighting forest fires is inherently dangerous. Without the proper protocols in place work sites can become a recipe for disaster. Depending on the facts of any case, a state agency may be liable for negligently supervising a worker prior to an accident.

Liability In Accidents While Fighting Forest Fires

When a worker is injured or killed in California there is a good chance that they or their family will be able to file a worker’s compensation claim.  In addition to a worker’s compensation claim an injured worker may be able to file a third party liability claim in order to recover damages. A third party claim may arise when an entity separate from a worker’s employer is responsible for the accident.

For example, the family of a bulldozer operator has filed suit against California after he died while fighting the Soberanes Fire. Among other things the plaintiffs argued that the state negligently supervised the operation of the man’s bulldozer. These types of cases can often be quite complex. An experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued.

Getting Help After A Car Accident

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Jeremy Lee Appleyard. We encourage everyone to donate to the Go Fund Me set up by the victim’s family so that he can be laid to rest in peace. There should be a thorough investigation into what happened so that something similar doesn’t take place in the future.

If you or someone that you love has died in an accident while fighting the Ranch Fire you may have legal recourse. Our team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We have over 40 years of experienced getting victims justice. Whether you just have questions about your rights or are seeking legal counsel for your particular situation we are here for you. You can reach us anytime at (888) 888-9285.


  1. JULIE JOHNSON. Oroville man ID’d as Ranch fire worker killed in vehicle crash. October 2, 2018.

  2. Melissa Mcfaul. Jeremy Appleyard funeral expenses. October 1, 2018

  3. Ted Goldberg. Family of Bulldozer Operator Killed in Soberanes Fire Suing California. March 22, 2017

  4. Thomas G. Appel. Suing a California Municipality. July 14, 2016

  5. Corey Campbell and Liz Dalsey. Wildland Fire Fighting Safety and Health. July 13, 2018

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