Fire leaders: State of Emergency means help is coming
TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Gov. Jay Inslee declared a State of Emergency for every county in the state of Washington Saturday.
Most areas east of the Cascade Range remain under overlapping burn bans. Inslee cited the numerous fires already burning throughout the Evergreen State, and the need for additional resources.
The official declaration was announced on Twitter,
"Dry weather is creating dangerous wildfire conditions across the state. I've declared a statewide state of emergency. "
In a prepared statement linked from the Tweet, Gov. Inslee declared,
"A State of Emergency exists in all counties in the State of Washington."
The declaration also talks about next weeks weather, saying it will provide,
"An active burning environment capable of producing significant multiple wildfires requiring the need for additional immediate response."
Kennewick Fire Department Acting Battalion Chief Troy Stratford said the declaration is a good thing. Kennewick Fire Station #2 is already down six from their team because fire crews fighting the Jolly Mountain Fire near Cle Elum needed help,
"The sooner we get them back the sooner they're back within our community to do what they're here for for us. We loan them out, if you will, to help support the things that are going on throughout the state."
Gov. Inslee's declaration stated:
"...because available firefighting resources may not be adequate to address the outbreak of simultaneous large wildfires ... the Washington State National Guard and State Guard may be needed to assist local jurisdictions throughout the state."
Stratford said assistance is definitely needed,
"The resource needs are great. If you look at the number of wildfires in the Northwest, you look at the resources that all of those fires require, there's not enough resources to go around."
He added his crew appreciates the extra help the declaration will provide, but he'd love for things to stay quiet around the Tri-Cities this holiday weekend.
"Resources are limited and we obviously want to make sure that everyone's safe."
Stratford said the state ban isn't going anywhere for a bit.
Monitor your county's burn-ban status here.