Inslee declares State of Emergency as state firefighting resources stretched thin
By Administration Raechel Ehlers
August 1, 2018

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a State of Emergency as the state’s firefighting resources have been stretched thin.

At the request of the state Department of Natural Resources, Inslee declared the State of Emergency Tuesday for all counties as the state continues to see abnormally dry conditions creating “dangerously high fire fuel conditions.”

To date, DNR – the state’s largest firefighting force – has responded to 891 fires, already more than the 853 fires DNR responded to in all of 2017.

“The sheer number and geographic range of wildfires have stretched our resources thin,” stated Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands. “Our state is at a very high-risk for even more wildfires and we need additional resources to keep our communities safe.”

Projected weather and fire fuel conditions for August and September will continue to present a high risk of wildfires across the state.

The State of Emergency allows for National Guard resources to deploy to wildfires. Two Blackhawk helicopters are expected to be staged at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane and five 20-person crews are deploying to wildfires in northeast Washington.

State DNR officials say despite the high number of fires already, quick air attack and positioning equipment in high-risk areas have allowed firefighter to keep more than 90 percent of the fires under 10 acres.

All available Type 1 and Type 2 incident response teams within the Washington-Oregon Northwest Interagency Coordination Center region are also fully-committed with more than 18 large fires burning in the Northwest.

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