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Report: Hunters in Washington state shoot at Australian firefighters

Posted: 9:19 PM, Sep 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-11 05:44:01Z

Two Australian firefighters helping to fight wildfires up and down the West Coast were chased by hunters and shot at in August, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The incident, which took place on August 23rd, happened on the Miriam Fire near the White Pass ski area west of Yakima in Washington state.

About 80 firefighters came to the US from Australia in July to assist Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management crews.

The hunters pursued the Australians, who were with two American firefighters, over a ridge despite being warned they were in a closed area, according to the Herald.

The hunters were cited for violating the closure order, and additional charges may be pending.

The Yakima Herald-Republic said firefighting efforts stopped once gunfire was heard, and 14 firefighters were evacuated to a nearby ski lodge.

The Herald-Republic, quoting a US Forest Service spokesperson, said the hunters were shooting ground squirrels and marmots while also bear hunting.

The incident prompted Australian officials to consider bringing the crews home early, but guarantees of safety by US officials allowed the crews to remain.

All Australian firefighters returned home from the US over the weekend, according to the Morning Herald.