(KTXL) — The United States Department of Agriculture announced the deaths of two employees responding to California wildfires a press release on Sunday.
Marcus Pacheco and Allen Johnson, “heroes in the firefighting community,” died from illness, the agency said.
Losing any member of our Forest Service family is a heartbreak for each one of us – let alone two in one week. Words cannot express the sorrow felt across the federal firefight community, and for the loved ones and friends of these two men.
Pacheco, an assistant fire engine operator for Lassen National Forest with 30 years of experience, died on Thursday. He was assigned to the Dixie Fire burning north of the Caldor Fire, authorities said.
He was very active in the Forest Service and the community at large. From education programs to fighting fire Marcus always showed up and let a hand.
Johnson, a retired firefighter, who was hired to help with the French Fire, died from complications of COVID-19, authorities said.
The agency said Allen “was working to protect life and property during the unprecedented fire year at the time of his passing.”
Allen was known as a mentor and friend for any that has the opportunity to cross paths with him. He was best known as a giver and leader, both personally and professionally. Allen was loved and respected by all who knew him.
The USDA has not released any additional information on the deaths of Pacheco and Johnson.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.