Men cited after firing rifles near wildland firefighters

SEATTLE (AP) — Federal authorities say two hunters were cited after they entered a closed area and fired their rifles in the direction of firefighters who were battling a wildfire near Washington’s White Pass Ski Area.

Officials on the Miriam Fire said in a news release that the incident happened Aug. 23.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Traci Weaver said Monday that firefighting in the area was halted once gunfire was detected and that 14 U.S. and Australian firefighters were evacuated to the nearby ski lodge.

No one was injured.

Weaver says federal, state and local officers investigated, finding two men inside the fire area closure who said they were shooting ground squirrels and marmots and also were bear hunting.

She says the men were cited for violating closure orders and that an investigation is ongoing.