Firefighters in north-central Idaho and eastern and central Washington continue to struggle with some of the worst wildfires of the season, but they're also dealing with persistent stings from swarms of yellow jackets.
KREM-TV reports two firefighters in the Twisp, Wash., area needed to be transported from the fire lines Wednesday to receive attention for yellow jacket stings. Officials said when fire crews don their heavy suits, the yellow jackets go for the face and hands, but when firefighters cover their faces with bandannas, firefighters can overheat.
"We're seeing multiple stings per day and that's just what's reported to us," medical unit leader Greg Bergin told KREM-TV. "I Wouldn't be surprised if some crews are just taking the sting, feeling no effects and driving on."
Meanwhile, Idaho firefighting officials issued Stage 3 mandatory evacuations Wednesday along the Salmon River from Riggins to French Creek as the Tepee Springs Fire continued to grow.
Air quality remained poor at best through much of the region early this morning, with air quality readings ranging from unhealthy to hazardous in many areas of north-central Idaho. The University of Idaho announced Wednesday that it was moving most outdoor events inside or even canceling some events until the air quality improves. University officials said students, faculty and staff should use discretion when deciding whether to continue or relocate smaller back-to-school events.
"The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and supporters is of the utmost importance," the U of I released in a statement. "All outdoor events will be moved indoors or canceled when the air quality index is greater than 150."