Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday declared a state of emergency in 20 counties mostly on the dry side of the Cascades, an area vulnerable to wildfire. Resources are stretched thin in the battle to save homes and property.
Inslee’s declaration came after a flyover of two active wildfires on either side of Spokane. Dozens of homes and out buildings have burned. Farmers have lost fields and livestock are displaced.
Inslee pointed to climate change as a contributing factor.
“Wildlands are in explosive conditions right now,” Inslee said. “A combination of dead and dying trees [and] climate change is changing the significance of temperatures and drought.”
Inslee is running for reelection this year. His Republican challenger Bill Bryant said in an email he was evacuated from his Winthrop home in north central Washington last year.
Bryant said wildfires “are a reminder of the importance of sound forest management practices.”