A GoFundMe site has been set up to collect donations for Nickolas Palmer, a wildland firefighter who was injured by a helicopter dropping 2,500 gallons of water on him while he was fighting the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire in late May. (Source: GoFundMe)
The wildland firefighter who was seriously injured late last month when a helicopter fighting the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire dropped approximately 2,500 gallons of water on him has ended his fire season, according to a GoFundMe set up to support him.
According to the site, Nickolas Palmer with the Vale Interagency Hotshot Crew out of eastern Oregon has multiple fractures to his face and mouth, as well as three breaks in his nose. He had to have reconstructive surgery on his shattered knee cap, his jaw wired shut and multiple plates and brackets put into his face to help it heal.
“This is his 6th year fighting fire, and it is one of the biggest passions he has, he has been firefighting since the age of 18,” the site states. “It is absolutely devastating for him to be in this situation, as he cannot do the thing he loves most, and instead has to recover. This ultimately will alter Nick’s life for a very long time, if not forever.”
Palmer is “in a severe amount of pain” and the workman’s compensation he will receive will not pay nearly the same amount that he would have gotten if he had been working and collecting overtime throughout the fire season, according to the site. The fundraiser was created on Sunday with a goal of $20,000 and Palmer had raised more than $30,000 by Monday evening.
Another member of the Vale Interagency Hotshot Crew confirmed to the Journal that the donation page is legitimate but said neither he nor anyone else was able to comment.
Two other crew members were injured by the water — which was dropped by a hovering helicopter about 100 feet above them on May 29 — but were treated and released the same day.
A report from the Bureau of Land Management stated that the hotshot crew was working on a fire line in the Pecos Wilderness while a helicopter was tasked with dropping loads of water on the fire’s edge. Instead it missed the drop area and “the last of the load was delivered on top of several crew members.”
Palmer and the two other hotshots were taken to the Santa Fe hospital and then Palmer was taken to Albuquerque, according to the BLM.
On Monday, a little over a week after the incident, the fire had grown to 317,920 acres and was 65% contained. Almost 3,000 personnel were working on the fire.