Inslee declares emergency in 20 counties due to multiple wildfir - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Inslee declares emergency in 20 counties due to multiple wildfires, extreme fire conditions

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OLYMPIA – Today, Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed a state of emergency for 20 counties in response to multiple wildfires in Eastern Washington threatening homes, businesses, public infrastructure and natural resources. Inslee toured the Spokane-area fires this morning.

The proclamation covers Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Yakima, Walla Walla and Whitman counties.

“These fires threaten people, property and the natural resources of Eastern Washington,” Inslee said. “This proclamation frees up state resources so we can provide the assistance that these communities might need. This is a time for all Washingtonians to come together.”

Firefighters are battling multiple fires east of the Cascades, including six that started during the weekend. Additional fire protection crews have been mobilized to five other fires by state authorities. The fires have burned more than 25 structures and are threatening hundreds of others, prompting evacuations.

In the proclamation, Inslee noted hot and windy weather conditions are forecast for the next seven days. A lack of firefighting resources in the Pacific Northwest and western United States could also hamper firefighting efforts.

The Department of Natural Resources has banned outdoor fires on state-protected lands due to extreme conditions. Other local and federal agencies have instituted burn bans on lands under their jurisdiction.

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