Dangers of snags while fighting wildfires - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Dangers of snags while fighting wildfires

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Within the past few weeks, two firefighters have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Both Trenton Johnson & Brent Witham were killed by falling trees while fighting Montana’s wildfires.

ABCFOX Montana spoke to fire officials with Lolo Peak Fire about the dangerous of snags.

Fire Information Officer with the Lolo Peak Fire Mark Struble said snags are dead trees that fall.

Struble added some snags can be deceiving sometimes because they can look completely healthy.

"Sometimes a tree that looks like it's nice, green and alive, but it might be already dead inside,” said Struble.

He continued to say snags can even weigh a ton and drop within seconds.

"Well, snags can weigh tons and tons," he said. "You \definitely don't want to get clipped by it or certainly have it come down on you. There's a reason why they wear heavy chaps, helmets, and gloves."

When firefighters are able to detect snags they try to remove them, but only if it’s necessary.

But, keep in mind: removing these snags can be dangerous too.

"They look at the truck and decide where to cut and hopefully drop when it should go," Struble said. "But, these trees might hit other trees or fall into a different direction."

Even though firefighters are professionals with handling snags sometimes things can always go wrong.

"People specialized in it and are very good and take all the precautions, but accidents can still happen,” said Struble.

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