Officials say three firefighters have been killed and three to four others have been injured trying to control a wildfire in Washington state.
Okanoga County Sheriff Frank Rogers said the firefighters died near the town of Twisp in the north-central part of the state.
The Associated Press reports the deaths came after the county emergency management department told residents to evacuate the area:
“Angela Seydel, a spokeswoman for the agency, said Wednesday evening that 4,000 homes in the region had been evacuated.
” ‘It is really bad out there. The fires have just exploded,’ she said. ‘We’re just directing everybody to head south.’ ”
The Wenatchee World reports:
“The dead firefighters were from the Methow Valley, said Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers. They were part of an initial fire response to a wildfire that started shortly after noon up Woods Canyon Road, which is off the Twisp River Road. That area is about five miles west of Twisp. The firefighters got trapped up Woods Canyon Road and were unable to escape the fire.”
Fires have spread rapidly in the region in the past several days, reports NPR member station KUOW:
“Wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest have exploded from just 85,000 acres a week ago to more than 625,000 acres burning today. Fires are currently threatening more than 10,000 homes and other structures. With so much fire, there’s more demand for firefighting equipment and personnel than there are resources available.
“[A government spokeswoman] said right now there are 37 large fires that are uncontained burning in Oregon and Washington.”