Wildfire Smoke Prevents Air Rescue Near Colchuck Lake
Monday's heavy wildfire smoke forced rescuers in Chelan County to use an alternative plan to aid an injured hiker near Colchuck Lake.
The Chelan County Sheriff's Office received an emergency call at around 3 p.m. from a 54-year-old female who reportedly injured her ankle and was unable to walk out on her own.
Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Reinfeld says the woman was less than a quarter-of-a-mile from the lake in an area where rescuers would typically use air support to assist with any rescues.
"Typically if someone's immobile that far in we call for a hoist-capable helicopter due to the issues involved with pulling somebody out on a wheeled litter. We checked visibility in the area and they said visibility was only about one hundred to two hundred feet due to smoke, so we had to do this as a ground rescue."
Reinfeld says nearly a dozen personnel were sent in to assist with the rescue on foot.
"We deployed a total of ten people to the trail from Cascade Medical Center, Chelan County Mountain Rescue, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue, and Chelan County Sheriff's Office deputies."
The team reached the woman at around 7 p.m. and spent roughly four hours bringing her back to the trailhead where she was transported to Cascade Medical Center in Leavenworth.
Her current condition was not available but Reinfeld says she is expected to fully recover from her injury.