A falling tree killed one firefighter and injured another today as crews attacked lightning-started wildfires in Central Oregon.
The contract firefighters were part of a crew removing hazardous trees during the initial attack on a wildfire started by lightning late Wednesday, said Jean Nelson-Dean, spokeswoman for the Deschutes National Forest. Rappel crews responded and called for an ambulance.
One of the firefighters died at the scene. The other, who was able to walk, was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
The firefighters' names have not been released. They worked for R&K Water Services out of Bonney Lake, Wash., Nelson-Dean said.
They are among the 4,000 people fighting active fires burning on about 40,000 acres in Oregon.
Lightning touched off the largest fires last weekend in southwestern Oregon forests.
An early-morning barrage of lightning east of the Cascade Range on this morning touched off dozens of smaller wildfires.
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Department is investigating today's deadly incident.
Twenty-seven wilderness firefighters have died in the line of duty in the U.S. this year, most of them in an Arizona fire that killed 19. Today's death is the first in Oregon, but the second blamed on snags or tree falls. A firefighter in California died for the same reason in June.
— Associated Press