Teams scour rugged Cliffdell terrain as search for missing firefighter extends into second week

CLIFFDELL, Wash. — As search and rescue efforts for missing Deputy Seattle Fire Chief Jay Schreckengost extend into a second week, hundreds of volunteers are braving harsh and rugged terrain in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

According to an update from the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, more than 100 people supported the search for Schreckengost on Tuesday—exactly one week after his sudden disappearance.

Search and Rescue planners representing the state of Washington helped build strategies to cover ground above Cliffdell. Resources from across the state, including K9s, drones, 4×4 teams, mountain rescue experts, and ground teams, have all contributed to the search.

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Kittitas County rescuers have been assisted by firefighters from across Washington state who hope to bring Schreckengost home.

Many of his teammates from the Seattle Fire Dept. have been stationed at Whistlin’ Jack Resort—the hub of operations for these search efforts—since Jay became lost on November 2. Battalion Chiefs from the Seattle Fire Dept.  have served as liaisons by integrating trained first responders in the rugged wilderness as they search far-off areas for their comrade.

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Schreckengost, an experienced outdoorsman and hunter, visited the area near Cliffdell on a trip last Tuesday. He left early that morning and never returned to his lodge. His truck was later located near the side of Forest Service Road 1703 with no signs of his presence.

Kittitas County Sheriff’s personnel have assessed tips from the community throughout this process. They are in contact with the owner of a gray Jeep that was noticed near the region that Schreckengost disappeared from, though deputies don’t expect the driver to be involved.

If you have any information that may contribute to the search for this missing hunter, contact Kittcom at 509-925-8534.

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