WA firefighter dies in California wildfire

WA firefighter dies in California wildfire

26 July 2008

published by http://seattlepi.nwsource.com

USA — A Washington state firefighter died when he was hit by a falling tree while assisting in a wildfire in California.

Andrew Palmer, 18, based at the Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, Wash., was part of a four-member park engine crew that was dispatched Tuesday to a fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, about 50 miles east of Redding, Calif.

Officials said they are investigating the death. Steve Ritchie, a spokesman for the Redding-area fire command center, said the 18-year-old suffered multiple injuries and died while being airlifted to a hospital on Friday.

Ritchie said the Eagle Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest has burned more than 21,000 acres and was 68 percent contained as of Saturday morning.

Palmer died on his crew’s first day of firefighting. The rest of the crew returned to Port Angeles on Saturday.

“We mourn Andy’s death and offer our support and deepest condolences to his family,” park Superintendent Karen Gustin said.

Meanwhile in Eastern Washington, a 25-year-old firefighter was injured when the top of a tree that was being cut by another firefighter struck him.

Robin DeMario, a spokeswoman for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, said the firefighter crew was clearing the forest to improve access to a water dipping site.

The firefighters were working at the site of the Camel’s Hump Fire in the Pasayten Wilderness Areas west of Twisp, Wash. As of late Saturday that wildfire had scorched 98 acres and was 40 percent contained.

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