Wildfire Smoke Closes Schools; Tree Faller Dies

Sep 18, 2012

A tree faller assigned to a wildfire burning north of Wenatchee has died. The U.S. Forest Service says the man became ill Monday afternoon from an unspecified cause. He was transported to a hospital where he later died.

Heavy smoke from multiple wildfires continues to fill valleys on the east slopes of the Cascades. Pollution monitors again rated the air "hazardous" to breathe in Wenatchee and Ellensburg Tuesday.

In nearby Cashmere, Wash., schools superintendent Glenn Johnson has decided to cancel all classes for the rest of the week because of the air is unhealthy inside too.

Johnson: "If you're to walk in the building, you can see a haze in the air and you can smell a strong odor of smoke. You can see smoke. At times it's worse than others."

Firefighters are making progress on some of the biggest wildfires burning in central Washington. That allowed Chelan County to ease evacuation orders in place since last week at the western edge of Wenatchee and north of Entiat .

Separately Tuesday, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire met with rural homeowners who live near a growing wildfire in Kittitas County. She urged them to heed evacuation notices for their own safety.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network