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The Latest: Utah Firefighter Remembered As Sharp Leader

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A suburban Salt Lake City firefighter who battled wildfires throughout his life has been laid to rest after his death fighting California’s largest recorded blaze. Friends and family said Monday that 42-year-old Matthew Burchett thrived when he was sleeping on the ground, eating rations and working to protect people. He was described as a sharp, hardworking leader with a well-known grin and unassuming manner. He is survived by his wife Heather and 7-year-old son Griffin, who carried his father’s helmet underneath his arm as he entered the funeral. Burchett died Aug. 13 from falling tree debris after a load of fire retardant was dropped on the area where he was working. Unified Fire Authority spokesman Ryan Love says Burchett was one of the most knowledgeable wildfire fighters in the state and careful about his surroundings.