Battalion Chief Matthew David Burchett lost his life on August 13, 2018, while working on the fire line of the Mendocino Complex Fire in California. He was 42 years young and is profoundly missed by those who knew and loved him, including his wife, Heather; son, Griffin; parents, Tom and Rose; siblings, Monica, Dominic, and Gina; and large extended fire family.
During his 20-year career with Unified Fire Authority, he quickly moved up the ranks. He worked as a wildland crew boss, paramedic, station captain, fire training captain, and emergency management captain. In May 2018, he was promoted to the rank of battalion chief with Draper City Fire Department. He was a highly regarded firefighter and an exceptional person.
Matt led by example. He wasn’t afraid of taking calculated risks and approached problems with an industrious and confident attitude. He was creative and could figure out solutions to just about anything. He did not let complications, doubts, or overwhelming details get in the way; he would just persevere with a stubborn energy. The words “I can’t” were not in his vocabulary.
Many who worked with him noted his gift for mentoring others, often seeing potential in them that they didn’t see in themselves. He led by example, never asking anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. Matt had an uncanny ability to inspire people to want to do their best just because they were working with him.
As a father, Matt was devoted and treated Griffin like a companion rather than a child to be molded. He was patient and quietly firm when needed. Griffin was his sidekick. When Griffin was six, Matt taught him how to do multiplication and showed him how to use a drill as they built a treehouse together. For Heather, he was a loyal soulmate, a selfless best friend, an amazing chef, an adventurous travel partner, and the world’s best handyman.
Matt was amazingly generous and thoughtful. He often helped his parents and grandparents fix things on their houses and would just stop in for a visit to drop off some food or treat, without even being asked. It’s no wonder he chose a profession in which he could combine his problem-solving ability, intelligence and strategic thinking, sense of service to others, leadership, love for the outdoors, and cooking skills all into one life-calling.
The Tim McGraw song “Humble and Kind” perfectly describes Matt.
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin’
Don’t forget turn back around
Help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind.