The National Guard is gearing up to help fight wildfire in eastern Washington, and Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state-wide emergency.
According to a statement from Inslee, catastrophic wildfires outside Washington state—in California and Oregon—have put a strain on available resources. The governor’s emergency declaration allows for the state Department of Natural Resources to call on the National Guard for help.
They’re staging two Blackhawk helicopters out of Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane. Five 20-member hand crews have already been deployed in northeastern Washington.
Jeff Cote, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said current weather conditions are a “perfect storm” for increasing wildfire risk.
“Some lightning, without precipitation and then wind – all of those things just kind of mixed together and then drying out the fuels,” Cote said, “is kind of a perfect storm to bring us to extreme fire weather behavior or critical fire conditions,” he said.
There’s no significant rainfall in the forecast, although temperatures should fall from triple digit highs over the next week. According to the DNR, 96 percent of the state is experiencing drought conditions.