by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:
EASTERN WASHINGTON - A State of Emergency has been declared in 20 Eastern WA Counties due to multiple wildfires and extreme fire conditions.
The State of Emergency covers Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima counties.
Six new wildfires started Tuesday. Several of those new fires are threatening homes. In all about 500 residences are threatened by the current wildfires and numerous residents have been forced to evacuate.
The largest wildfire is the Mills Canyon fire in Chelan County. The fire has burned over 22,500 acres. Over 1,000 firefighters and support personnel are working to contain that fire alone.
All of the current fire activity has led to a lack of available firefighters available to respond to new wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.
The proclamation provides for the use the Washington National Guard and the State Guard in the event its resources are needed to protect public health, safety and welfare.
It directs state agencies to do "everything reasonably possible" to assist affected local governments in responding and recovering from the fires; and directs staff at the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate state support activities.