USA REDMOND, Ore. – A Redmond smokejumper is fighting for his life after being critically injured in a fall while fighting a wildfire in Alabama.
Ray Rubio, a smokejumper with the Deschutes National Forest, was one of many from the area who were sent to an assignment in Birmingham, Alabama, as more than 30 wildfires are burning in the South.
Rubio suffered a serious head injury and broken kneecap in a fall last Wednesday, family members said. He is in intensive care and on life support.
Rubio’s family and friends are by his side at the hospital where he’s being treated.
Friends have set up the Rubio family with a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.
His family posted a note that said his CAT scan on Tuesday showed his head injuries are no longer swelling and have stabilized.
According to the GoFundMe page, Rubio is an Army veteran (82nd Airborne) and experienced smokejumper who started his career in Redmond in 1995 and has worked for the Forest Service for more than 25 years.
Rubio’s wife declined to speak to NewsChannel 21 during this difficult time.
However, on the GoFundMe page, the family friends say Rubio’s personality and friendship has touched many of the wildland firefighter community.
Deschutes National Forest officials declined to comment about the situation, out of respect for family privacy.