The family of a federal firefighter from Vermont who was killed while battling a wildfire near the Nevada-Utah line says he had a passion for people and the outdoors, and had hoped to become a paramedic.

Forest Service spokeswoman Ronda Bishop said Monday a federal investigative team is taking over the formal probe into the death of 26-year-old Justin Beebe, who was struck by a tree over the weekend near Great Basin National Park, about 200 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

His parents, Sheldon and Betsy Beebe, say their son had worked as a logger in New England and on his family's farm in Westminster, Vermont, where they produced maple syrup.

They describe him as a charismatic, rugged Vermonter who 'devoted his life to the woods and people.