Sheriff: 3 firefighters killed in Washington state wildfire
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Three firefighters have been killed and three to four more have been injured while battling raging wildfires, a sheriff in north-central Washington state said Wednesday.
Okanogan (oh-kah-NAH'-guhn) County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Wednesday evening that the deaths in a wildfire near the town of Twisp had been confirmed. He said he was not immediately releasing further details.
Gov. Jay Inslee also confirmed the deaths, saying his heart breaks over the loss of life and that conditions remain extremely dangerous.
Earlier Wednesday, authorities urged people in Twisp and nearby Winthrop to evacuate because of a fast-moving wildfire, one of many burning throughout the Northwest.
Firefighters have been bracing for high winds in the forecast through Friday that have threatened to stoke wildfires burning across Eastern Washington.
Wildfires burning in Okanogan County had already forced the evacuation of the small town of Conconully. Fire officials said the evacuation order for the town of about 200 people was issued Tuesday night.
Separately, the Chelan Complex of wildfires grew a bit Wednesday to 108.5 square miles, and continued to threaten the resort town of Chelan in central Washington.
Drought and heat have combined to make this fire season of the most active in the United States in recent years. Nearly 29,000 firefighters are battling some 100 large blazes across the West, including in Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and California.