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Santa Maria Firefighters honor fallen Utah Batallion Chief

Firefighters in Santa Maria are honoring the life of Matthew Burchett, who died Monday fighting the largest wildfire in state history.

Flags at all City of Santa Maria Fire stations were lowered to half-staff Tuesday in observance of the fallen Draper Fire Department Battalion Chief.

Officials say the 42-year-old career wild land firefighter from Utah was hit by a tree, while battling the Mendocino Complex Fire.

Central Coast firefighters could be seen with black bands across their badges Tuesday, reflecting on the brotherhood they share with first responders nationwide.

“We’re united and we’re all in this together. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Wisconsin or Ventura, we’re all in the same boat and we’re all doing the same job,” said Evan Hamaker, Santa Maria Fire Department.

Burchett is the sixth firefighter to die battling California wildfires this summer, making 2018 the deadliest fire season for firefighters in the past decade.

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