A timber faller who became ill while working with firefighters on one of several blazes near Wenatchee died Monday evening.
Chris Seelye of Darby, Mont. had been cutting trees near a fire line in the Entiat area 20 miles north of Wenatchee when he suddenly became ill Monday afternoon, according to the Wenatchee Complex incident management team. Medical personnel rushed Seelye to a nearby hospital, but he died later that evening.
The incident management team has not released the cause of death.
The man was a contracted U.S. Timber Cutters employee, according to the Washington State Patrol. About 12 timber fallers are contracted to help more than 1,800 firefighters put out the Wenatchee Complex blazes, said incident management team spokesman Randy Shepard.
Washington’s firefighting resources have been stretched thin by several fires scattered throughout Central Washington that have been burning for more than a week. Firefighters and other personnel trying to put out the blaze work a maximum of 16 hours a day for as many as 14 days in a row, after which each is required to take a two-day break, Shepard said.