The Latest: Colleagues mourn firefighter killed in Sierra

July 23, 2018 GMT

MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

11:49 a.m.

A funeral is underway for a California firefighter killed while battling a forest fire near Yosemite National Park.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection personnel gathered Monday in Modesto to remember 36-year-old Braden Varney, who died July 14 while operating a bulldozer on the lines of the Ferguson Fire in the Sierra National Forest.

Varney’s bulldozer rolled over into a ravine and it took until July 16 to recover his body due to the danger of the raging fire and difficult terrain.

More than 3,000 firefighters continue battling the fire, which has scorched nearly 53 square miles (137 square kilometers) of timber and brush.


7: 22 a.m.

Firefighters battling a huge forest fire in the Sierra Nevada will face increasingly difficult conditions this week as a heat wave sets in.

Officials say the Ferguson Fire has scorched nearly 53 square miles (137 square kilometers) of timber and brush west of Yosemite National Park, and 13 percent of its perimeter is contained Monday morning.

The National Weather Service says a widespread heat advisory including the fire area will be in effect Tuesday afternoon through Thursday evening for high temperatures ranging from 103 to 108 degrees (39.4 to 42.2 Celsius).

More than 3,000 firefighters are battling the fire, which broke out July 13. One firefighter died the following day and six others have been injured.

Thirteen areas are under mandatory evacuation orders.