Autopsy Ordered Following Death of Firefighter

SACRAMENTO, CA — As crews struggle against fires raging all over California, An autopsy has been ordered for the U.S. Forest Service firefighter who died while responding to the Frog Fire in the northwest part of the state.

David “Dave” Ruhl, of Rapid City, South Dakota, was on a temporary assignment when responding to the Modoc National Forest. The engine captain was found Friday morning by a search and rescue team that had worked overnight after he went missing on Thursday.

Ruhl was in a vehicle Thursday, looking for ways to fight the blaze, when officials lost contact with him. His body was recovered Friday.

The Modoc County Coroner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the nature of his death sometime next week.

The service says another step in the investigation will be to determine how the fatality occurred and what lessons can be learned.

The Frog Fire southeast of Lava Camp in the Big Valley Ranger District started Thursday afternoon and grew to more than 3,900 acres by Sunday.