Gregoire declares state of emergency for Kittitas, Yakima counties

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Governor Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency for Kittitas and Yakima counties, making additional resources available to fight the Taylor Bridge Fire.

Since it started Monday, the fire has burned 60 homes across about 40 square miles of central Washington grassland, timber and sagebrush. Fire commanders estimated Tuesday the blaze has burned at least 26,000 acres since it started Monday afternoon east of Cle Elum.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said the fire is a priority for the Washington State Patrol and the state Emergency Management Department, and declared a state of emergency to help bring in additional resources.

The proclamation was issued in response to a request from the Department of Natural Resources, which requested air support from the Washington National Guard to help contain the fire.

"I have requested that the Emergency Management Department and the Washington State Patrol continue to make this firefighting effort a priority and provide the resources that the Department of Natural Resources needs to carry out its job," Gov. Gregoire said.

"DNR notified us today that access to Washington National Guard helicopters would assist in their efforts and this proclamation makes available those resources."