OLYMPIA, WA – Gov. Jay Inslee today requested a federal Emergency Declaration to provide additional resources to cover some of costs related to multiple wildfires burning in Eastern Washington.
The governor’s request was sent to President Obama through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and pointed out that currently 11 counties and four tribes are affected or threatened by fires. Officials have confirmed that the fires have already destroyed more than 50 homes, 60 other structures, and more than 235,000 acres of land.
“Our communities are still healing from last year’s fires,” Inslee said. “Tonight we heard the heartbreaking news that three firefighters died while battling the Twisp fire and others are injured. Communities in Eastern Washington are strong and coming together, but need help. The current fires will exacerbate the ongoing housing shortages and economic troubles felt throughout the region. We’re doing everything we can to assess the damage and work with our partners to obtain additional federal assistance.”
Inslee declared a State of Emergency on June 26th in anticipation of a damaging wildfire season. More than 300 Washington National Guardsmen have been mobilized to assist firefighting efforts. Multiple other state agencies are providing support services ranging from air monitoring to shelter for displaced residents. More than 3,600 homes remain threatened, and the number is expected to rise as increased winds and low humidity are expected over the region.
If approved, the Emergency Declaration would make financial assistance available to the State, eligible local jurisdictions and private non-profit organizations. The assistance could be used to pay for costs of emergency protective measures, emergency response, and debris removal. Federal government would reimburse 75 percent of eligible costs. The declaration would also provide direct federal assistance from federal agencies.