Falling tree kills camper near Idaho-Wash. border

NEWPORT — An Idaho man was killed when a tree fell on his tent at the Stagger Inn Campground in Eastern Washington, the Pend Oreille County sheriff’s office said.

Kyle L. Garrett, 48, of Sandpoint, was found dead at the campsite Sunday night after the 200-foot tree fell during a wind storm, the sheriff’s office said in a prepared statement. A 52-year-old woman was also struck by the tree and was being treated for injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Jason Kirchner, with the U.S. Forest Service, said the storm caused numerous trees to weaken and fall in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Forest Service workers were assessing the developed campsites in the region to see if any need to be closed while hazardous trees are removed, Kirchner said.

The Forest Service will use an incident management team, like those used to respond to wildfires and other emergencies, to assess the campgrounds before the Labor Day holiday weekend.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident at our campground and are making every effort to ensure that last night’s storm damage has not left hazard trees in our developed recreation sites,” Idaho Panhandle National Forest Supervisor Mary Farnsworth said in a prepared statement.

Forest Service officials say visitors should be wary of trees that have damage to roots, branches or trunk; that appear to be infested with insects; or that are leaning or dead.

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