Former Medford Fire Chief to be honored by National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Chief Mark Burns died in 2016 of complications from smoke inhalation sustained in the 2010 Oak Knoll Fire.

Posted: Sep 25, 2019 11:41 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford's former Fire Chief will be honored by the National Fallen Firefighter's Foundation in October, according to Medford Fire-Rescue (MFR). Chief Mark Burns died in 2016 of complications from smoke inhalation sustained in the 2010 Oak Knoll Fire.

Chief Burns’ name will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Monument in Emmitsburg, Maryland. A brick will also be placed in the "Walk of Honor," which current Medford Fire-Rescue personnel donated in honor of Chief Burns and his family, MFR said in a statement.

“I had the honor of working with Mark for most of my career in the fire service. He was a great mentor to me. I haven’t worked for a better fire strategist and tactician — ever,” said Medford Fire-Rescue Chief Fish. “The best part for me was that we became very good friends. I miss him.”

Mark Burns started as a firefighter with Jackson County Fire District 3 in 1971, moving to a position as shift battalion chief with Medford Fire-Rescue in 1982. He later served as Operations Chief for much of his career at MFR.

During August of 2010, Chief Burns joined firefighters from multiple agencies to battle the Oak Knoll Fire in Ashland.

"Once he arrived on-scene, Chief Burns was put in-charge of a division downwind from the fire; within his division, several homes were well-involved," MFR said. "While he coordinated and assigned incoming resources, it was throughout this time frame in which he received the vast amount of smoke exposure, resulting in damage to his lungs and airways."

The Oak Knoll Fire destroyed eleven structures before the coalition of firefighters were able to contain its spread. MFR estimates that they saved 100 nearby homes from the fire.

“It was one of the quickest-moving fires I have witnessed in-person throughout my career in Oregon. The fire was spreading from home-to-home within minutes, and pulled resources from all over southern Oregon to make the stop,” said Tom McGowan, Medford Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief. “Knowing that so many of us were on a fire that led to a fatality really highlights how quickly an incident can change from calm to chaos.”

Chief Burns tried to return to work, but the injuries to his lungs hindered his ability to stay on the job. He took time off to recover, and eventually required surgery to remove an abscess from his lung. Following the surgery, Chief Burns was unable to pass the firefighter physical.

In 2011, Chief Burns took a medical retirement. In the following years, he was placed on a lung transplant list and was forced to remain on oxygen until his death in March of 2016.

The State of Oregon honored Chief Burns in September 2016, adding his name to the state's Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Salem.

"The Foundation honors America’s fallen fire heroes by sharing how they lived and what they meant to their loved ones, their communities, and our nation," MFR said. "Chief Burns’ family, his fire-family, and friends will be present during his national recognition this October."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 171398

Reported Deaths: 2446
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34320566
Washington23060229
Marion19838299
Clackamas14975202
Lane11295144
Jackson9709126
Umatilla792683
Deschutes679372
Linn403962
Yamhill403974
Malheur342158
Polk336351
Klamath329257
Douglas300865
Josephine298162
Benton267318
Jefferson204832
Coos194731
Columbia150525
Union140423
Lincoln128220
Wasco126428
Hood River110729
Morrow107115
Clatsop8768
Crook84619
Baker81213
Curry5829
Tillamook5692
Lake4127
Grant3464
Harney3036
Wallowa1565
Sherman560
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3706629

Reported Deaths: 60547
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122662723505
Riverside2968014504
San Bernardino2939254493
San Diego2737083623
Orange2684144849
Santa Clara1164362002
Kern1074341306
Sacramento1005871644
Fresno1002771633
Alameda848171447
Ventura80112990
San Joaquin711781334
Contra Costa66567777
Stanislaus600831020
Tulare49300824
Monterey43209348
San Mateo40920556
San Francisco35841506
Santa Barbara33736444
Solano31702238
Merced31105449
Sonoma29573311
Imperial27851717
Kings22723245
Placer21600281
San Luis Obispo20827256
Madera16174239
Santa Cruz15432203
Marin13815224
Yolo13510199
Shasta11570214
Butte11488193
El Dorado9662108
Napa961880
Sutter9245106
Yuba608343
San Benito594262
Lassen566624
Tehama539356
Nevada441875
Tuolumne405864
Mendocino397747
Amador360746
Humboldt356036
Lake338043
Glenn234925
Colusa218816
Calaveras204551
Siskiyou190920
Inyo141638
Mono12724
Del Norte12637
Plumas6886
Modoc4874
Mariposa4177
Trinity3985
Sierra1080
Alpine880
Unassigned500
Medford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Brookings
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 56°
Medford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 37°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Klamath Falls
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 24°
Mostly sunny and warmer Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events