BILLINGS - There were lots of emotions in Red Lodge after one of their own firefighters was injured while fighting the Harris Fire near Joliet.  

The firefighter, Dan Steffensen, was flown to Salt Lake City for treatment of his injuries.

Now, Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz says he wants Dan to know the whole town has his back.

"I was able to travel to Salt Lake and sit with Dan and express the love and faith that people have had," the chief said.

An emotional Chief Kuntz just got back from Salt Lake City Monday afternoon. He got to see Dan, who was injured by flames of the Harris Fire.

"He's in very serious condition and has significant burns on his body," Chief Kuntz said.

Red Lodge Fire tells us Dan went through a successful surgery on Monday, but his recovery won't be easy. They say it's expected to take about six months.

But the chief says Dan has high spirits.

We're told he now knows that the town of Red Lodge and firefighters across the northwest are cheering for him.

"We were able to express to him the amazing outpouring of support that we've received from the community. And we could tell that meant a lot to him," Chief Kuntz said.

It's already been a busy fire season, and between the Robertson Draw Fire to the west, and now the Harris Fire to the east, Dan's absence will be noticeable. He's a nationally qualified wildland firefighter that's worked in several western states.

"Obviously, having a significant injury puts a lot of stress on our organization," Chief Kuntz said.

Red Lodge Mayor Bill Larson says his firefighters are invaluable this time of year, especially this summer.

"It's a big concern because it's July. Usually, our fire season doesn't start until August," Red Lodge Mayor William Larson said.

A GoFundMe page set up for Dan has raised over $53,000 since this last weekend. It's a number, the Mayor says, will keep going up.

"Our firefighters, we respect them a lot, and our prayers are with him," Mayor Larson said.

If you would like to donate to help Dan, you can do so through the GoFundMe page here.

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