Deadly Wildfires Burning in Pacific Northwest
Posted by feww on August 20, 2015
Washington Gov. requests Major Disaster Declaration as wildfires kill 3 fire crews, injure 4
Gov. Inslee has requested a Federal Disaster Declaration for the State of Washington as 44 lightning-sparked wildfires that are raging uncontrollably kill 3 fire crews and injure at least 4 others.
“Currently 11 counties and 4 tribes are affected or threatened by fires with 39 confirmed residences and 60 other structures destroyed [and] over 235,000 acres burned,” said Inslee in his official request. “Over 3,600 homes remain threatened, and these numbers are increasing each day as the largest fires remain uncontained.”
“Washington State had a major disaster declaration on August 11, 2014 for Washington Wildfires (DR-4188) in Okanogan County from the Carlton Complex Fire. The impacts of this current event are likely to exacerbate the ongoing housing and economic recovery efforts from the declared disaster last year.”
On June 26, 2015, I issued a State of Emergency for the State of Washington for all 39 counties due to extraordinary heat and drought conditions across the state. These conditions have continue to worsen and exacerbated the threats posed by high ﬁre danger weather conditions.
On August 13, 2015 a low pressure settled over central and eastern Washington that generated several hundred lightning strikes in a 6 hour period setting off numerous ﬁres. This weather system remained in effect thru Saturday August 15, 2015. Gusty winds continue to effect these regions. Another similar system is moving into the region in the next 2 days with extreme high ﬁre danger weather predicted.
There have been ﬁve Fire Management Assistance Grant declarations in the span of 36 hours with two additional approved Washington State Fire Mobilizations for Black Canyon/McFarland Creek Fires in Okanogan County and Renner Lake Fire in Stevens and Ferry Counties.
Thousands of people are under mandatory evacuation orders across the Pacific Northwest as more than 90 major wildfires rage across the region. At least a dozen wildfires are also burning across the South.
In Washington, several towns and communities have been evacuated including Omak, Riverside, Twisp, Winthrop and Conconully.
“It is really bad out there. The fires have just exploded,” a spokeswoman for the Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management, told the AP. “We’re just directing everybody to head south.”
In California, more than 2,500 people were forced to flee Christian camps near Fresno after Rough Fire crossed Highway 180, officials said.
Mandatory evacuations are also in effect in the states of Idaho and Oregon.
States currently reporting major wildfire include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
Active fires are currently burning an estimated 1.5 million acres, and have consumed hundreds of homes and other structures so far this month.
Some 42,000 wildfires have consumed at least 7.2 million acres across the United States, so far this year.
The U.S. military is sending hundreds of personnel to the fire lines, as fire managers call in help from other countries.