WENATCHEE — A firefighter has died after falling ill while helping battle a blaze north of Wenatchee, officials said Tuesday as crews struggled to contain dozens of wildfires throughout Washington.
The timber faller working under contract north of Entiat became ill on the fire line Monday afternoon and was transported to a hospital, where he later died, authorities said. His name was not released, and no further details were provided on the cause of death.
Gov. Chris Gregoire offered condolences to his friends and family. She also said she would extend an emergency order for all counties east of the Cascades.
More than 4,000 firefighters are battling blazes on some 88 square miles of dry timber, grass and sagebrush in central Washington. Most of the fires were sparked by lightning earlier this month.
The governor’s proclamation will ensure continued air support from the Washington National Guard to fight wildfires and extends a burn ban through Monday.
“Progress is being made, but we can’t let down our guard,” Gregoire said. “I want to make sure our fire crews have every resource possible.”
Weak winds and stagnant conditions that have allowed smoke to hover over much of the region and impair air quality were expected to continue for several days. Hazardous air quality warnings were issued for Ellensburg and Wenatchee, where residents were advised to remain indoors, limit physical activity and close doors and windows.