Firefighters welcome the National Guard's help combating the Okanogan County wildfires.

Washington In Flames – Wildfires Destroy Towns, Heighten Emotions In Okanogan County

Washington was declared in a state of emergency on Friday from wildfires that started burning out of control in Okanogan County. The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office is updating the public about the wildfires’ aggressive movements via their Facebook page frequently. Meanwhile, the locals are hopping on the page to inform their neighbors of safe routes to take as Okanogan County citizens plot their evacuations. Thousands have already been evacuated. “We basically evacuated the whole town” of Malott, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers told the press late Friday night.

According to the Seattle Times, Gov. Jay Inslee said that Washington state was working to train one thousand National Guard troops as quickly as possible in Yakima to help with the Okanogan fire. Washington’s governor told the press that one hundred National Guard units have been activated. Inslee said it was the largest National Guard activation in twenty years.

The governor of Washington said that the fires in Okanogan County and Central Washington were beyond the firefighter’s ability to contain. The goal of the emergency responders involved with the fires is to keep citizens safe at this time. Over two thousand firefighters have already been dispatched and are working to protect the public from the devastating wildfires.

In the very early hours of Saturday morning, King 5 News reported:

“Winthrop Police Chief asked us to share this warning. They have no power, limited phone service and gasoline. They are in a state of emergency. Lake Pearrygin State Park is already evacuated. This warning applies to surrounding areas: Pateros, Brewster and Malott also evacuated. Do not visit. Evacuate if you can.”

Late Friday night, the Associated Press reported that David Postman, a spokesman for the governor of Washington, said that more than 202,000 acres have already burned in the Washington wildfires. The fire spread quickly, because of the dry conditions which were similar to the conditions that allowed Alaska’s fire in May to destroy a similar expanse of land. Okanogan County, however, is more heavily populated and entire towns appear to be engulfed in the wildfires.

[Photo via BBC on YouTube]

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