Inslee declares State of Emergency as wildfires burn across Washington

Chikamin Fire burning west of Lake Chelan, Washington. (Photo: Inciweb)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a State of Emergency on Wednesday as multiple wildfires continue to burn across the state.

Fighting wildfires is complicated this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources have been spread thin and extremely hot and dry weather is fanning the flames.

“Due to hot, dry conditions and lighting storms, we have fires burning across Washington and existing firefighting resources are at capacity," said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. "We are so grateful to our partners at the National Guard who are answering the call and joining us on the fire lines. We train with them prior to wildfire season and know the skill and abilities they bring to the wildfire emergency facing so many communities right now."  

The biggest wildfires are burning in Central and Eastern Washington, and the Olympic Peninsula, according to the emergency proclamation.

"Wildfires are threatening the safety and livelihoods of Washingtonians all across the state," Inslee said. "And the COVID-19 pandemic has put additional strain on our resources, as some of our usual support is further limited due to international movement restrictions."

"The proclamation authorizes the activation of the Washington National Guard statewide in response to a request from the state Department of Natural Resources to help protect homes, public facilities and utilities, businesses, agriculture and natural resources."