Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency in 20 counties across eastern Washington due to multiple wildfires and extreme fire conditions across the region.
The proclamation, issued about an hour after Inslee toured the Spokane Complex Emergency Operation Center along with Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, is in response to fires burning across the state, threatening homes, businesses and infrastructure.
“These fires threaten people, property and the natural resources of Eastern Washington,” Inslee said in a written statement. “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.”
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.
During his visit, incident commanders briefed Inslee on the Spokane Complex fire, assuring him the large force of nearly 500 personnel have what they need to contain the Yale and Wellesley fires, which have destroyed at least ten homes.
The governor also took time to meet the very first crew to respond to the Yale Fire, the crew from Spokane County Fire District 8.
“There are 7 million people who respect these efforts and I know our state and all over our state people are thinking about the firefighters. They know how brave they are they know how proficient they are we want them to be safe," Inslee said.
Before going out to tour the fire lines and see the efforts to stop these wildfires, the governor stopped by to see some displaced residents – 11 horses, two dogs, and several other small animals – who are being taken care of by Spokane HEART, an emergency animal sheltering agency.
Inslee said state leaders are doing everything in their power to make sure our region has what it needs to keep residents and animals safe.
VIDEO: Gov. Inslee talks with media during Spokane Complex EOC visit