CASPER, Wyo. — A Montana firefighter who was severely injured in a wildland fire in July is reporting that both he and his medical team are “astonished at the rate of progress” in his recovery.
Dan Steffensen, a member of Red Lodge Fire Rescue, suffered severe burns and respiratory damage after shifting winds caused the Harris Fire near Joliet, Montana to overtake his fire engine on July 16.
Red Lodge Fire Rescue provided social media updates as Steffensen was treated at the University of Utah Burn Center throughout the summer, undergoing several skin graft surgeries.
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On August 14, the agency shared a report from Steffensen’s family: “Dan has been making great progress on his road to recovery over the past week. He is spending more time awake and interacting with the wonderful staff at the hospital as well as family. His wounds are healing and he is working to get his voice back.”
On September, Steffensen began reporting his own updates on social media.
“Just walked a mile. Completely unaided and on my own,” Steffensen said on Thursday. “I have new ears, and I love them. And that is the end of skin grafts.”
Steffensen said he is feeling better and “stronger every day. … Keep the prayers going. That’s doing it. Thanks.”
On Saturday, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Steffensen posted: “It is very difficult to me to be stuck here today. This day should be spent with my fire colleagues, who have supported me so gallantly through this battle. A special day and a day to remember the fallen.”