More resources on way to fight wildfires
There are now 10 Blackhawk helicopters fighting fires in eastern Washington.
Significant new resources arrive following approval of Emergency Declaration
Just one day following the Obama Administration's approval of Gov. Jay Inslee's request for a Federal Emergency Declaration, a new Mobilization Center started being formed at Fairchild Air Force Base to assist with firefighting efforts in Eastern Washington.
The Mobilization Center will be a staging area for 20 large fire engines of the type specifically designed to protect threatened communities and residences, along with 10 water tankers. The Mobilization Center is being managed by a 17-person All Hazard Incident Management Team from San Diego, CA. The new fire engines are coming from Utah, Nevada and Arizona and Colorado.
"These new assets will provide an incredible assist for our firefighters throughout Eastern Washington," Inslee said. "With erratic wind conditions and extremely dry fuels, our firefighters need every available resource to manage current fires and respond to new ones. This IMT is not only bringing us much needed manpower, but much needed equipment that will greatly help our ability to protect people's homes and property."
"We are deeply appreciative of these resources from our many partnering states," state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark said. "They will help fill our urgent need for fire engines and teams to protect people and buildings that are in harm's way.”
The state continues to battle 16 large wildfires consuming more than 590,000 acres. As of Saturday evening, 520,000 acres were still burning across Central and Eastern Washington. More than 200 homes have been destroyed and more than 12,000 homes and thousands of more structures remain threatened. Three firefighters were killed last week while responding to a wildfire near Twisp.
As of Sunday, there will be 700 members of the Washington National Guard joining thousands of firefighters across the state to fight the fires. National Guard Blackhawk helicopters from Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota will join the helicopters from Washington state to fight the fires. More than 276,000 gallons of water have been poured on the fires from Blackhawk helicopters so far.
"We will have 10 helicopters on the fires by tomorrow," said Major General Bret Daughterty of the Washington National Guard, adding that another 200 National Guard members will be given critical fire training in the near future to provide relief for existing fire crews. "We're also posturing for the long haul."
The new Mobilization Center at Fairchild will be fully operational by today. It will coordinate with efforts by the Washington State Patrol Fire Marshal, the state Military Department's Emergency Management Division and Washington National Guard, the state Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and local officials.