Rum Creek Blaze Claims Life of Beloved Oregon Firefighter
Killed fighting Oregon’s Rum Creek Fire, Logan Taylor is being remembered for a heart so big that he could love people as much as he loved the great outdoors.
“He was the most polite person on the planet and super professional,” his sister, Kiara Mitchell, told Coffee or Die Magazine. “I don’t know where that came from, because no one else in the family is like that. I don’t know where he got all that kindness from.”
Taylor, 25, of Talent, Oregon, died Aug. 18 after a tree fell on him while he was battling the blaze north of Galice. He owned Sasquatch Reforestation, which had been contracted to help fight the fire.
Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District spokesperson Natalie Weber told Coffee or Die that Taylor was one of roughly 800 firefighters trying to extinguish multiple conflagrations in the Westside and Lightning Gulch Complexes in Jackson and Josephine counties.
Their efforts include stopping the Rum Creek Fire, which has consumed 676 acres of timber and continues to sweep up the Lower Rogue Canyon’s hillsides. According to the US Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program, none of it is contained.
Emergency dispatchers alerted Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue around 4 p.m. on Aug. 18 about Taylor’s injury. They scrambled a helicopter crew that handed Taylor off to a Mercy Flights helicopter for the trip to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, the same Medford hospital where he was born.
He died that evening. Both Oregon Department of Forestry and Bureau of Land Management officials said investigators were probing Taylor’s death.
His sister told Coffee or Die Taylor’s company had received government contracts for thinning forests and inspecting tree plantings. When he wasn’t in a forest, Taylor trimmed trees at private residences and sculpted their properties so they would be safer from wildland blazes.
His father, Jerome Taylor, also worked at Sasquatch Reforestation. Mitchell said her brother had inherited his love of the wilderness from their dad.
“Our dad’s a forester, our grandpa was a forester, and our great-grandpa was, so it was inevitable,” she said.
Her father would tell a story about how he saw Bigfoot one night in the woods, and she figures that’s why her brother named his company after the legendary beast.
Before he founded the company, Logan Taylor became a nuclear medicine technician, Mitchell said.
He “decided he actually couldn’t be inside and wanted to be outside doing the same thing our dad did,” she added.
But he was different in other ways, too. Mitchell pointed to a laugh that sounded like “something out of a cartoon” and a deep love for his deceased Great Dane-mastiff, Bella, who was “super important to him.”
Mitchell recalled a telephone call Taylor once got from her husband, Tanner Mitchell, who’d just shot a buck and was down at the “very bottom of a hill.”
Taylor bolted from his dinner and bounded down the hollow to join his brother-in-law in hefting a carcass with a hanging weight of 112 pounds.
Mitchell said Tanner kept slipping, but her brother “didn’t even flinch because he was carrying all the weight.”
“Always stuff like that,” Mitchell said. “He’s just a 6-foot, 5-inch, big, strong boy. He was always helping his friends, making sure they had jobs and that they were okay.”
Logan Taylor was born on Jan. 11, 1997, in Medford to his father and his mother, Kim.
He’s survived by his parents, his sister, and his three step-brothers, Josh and Ryan Taylor and Derek Palmer.
An Oregon winery, Red Lily Vineyards, is hosting a fundraiser for the Taylor family on Saturday, Aug. 27.
A memorial service is slated for 10 a.m. Monday at Harry and David Field, 2929 S. Pacific Highway, in Medford.