The Latest: Washington governor declares state of emergency

AP News
Posted: Aug 23, 2016 3:07 PM
The Latest: Washington governor declares state of emergency

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on wildfires burning in the West (all times local):

12:02 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency for 20 Washington state counties in response to wildfires that threaten homes and natural resources.

Inslee issued the declaration Tuesday after touring fire scenes in the Spokane region.

Inslee noted that hot and windy weather conditions are forecast for the next seven days.

Inslee's proclamation directs state agencies to do everything reasonably possible to assist local governments in responding and recovering from fires.

It also calls on staff at the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate state firefighting efforts and allows the use of the National Guard if jurisdictions need more resources.

The proclamation covers Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Yakima, Walla Walla and Whitman counties.


11:25 a.m.

Firefighters appeared to be gaining the upper hand against blazes wildfires burning in Washington state.

Crews on Tuesday partially contained a small blaze in north Spokane, which has burned several homes.

In Lincoln and Stevens counties in northeastern Washington, a fire has burned some 15 square miles and destroyed numerous homes on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

In central Washington, a large fire moved east toward Kahlotus, where it threatened homes and forced some residents to evacuate.

The Kahlotus blaze is estimated to be more than 34 square miles, mostly in sageland.

The small town remained without power, phone service or cellphone services. No homes were lost.

A wildfire burning south of Toppenish has grown to nearly 11 square miles but is 50 percent contained and weather conditions were aiding firefighters.


11:45 a.m.

Utah firefighting crews are battling a small wildfire in northern Utah that is approaching a ski resort and a separate blaze in southern Utah burning through sage grouse habitat.

MaryEllen Fitzgerald of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest said Tuesday the fire near the Utah-Idaho state line is within one-fourth of a mile of the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, which is on pre-evacuation notice.

Fitzgerald says the same hot temperatures and high winds that stoked the blaze on Monday are expected to cause the fire to grow Tuesday past its current size of less than one square mile. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Shayne Ward of the Utah Division of Forestry says the southern Utah fire has grown to nearly five square miles. It was ignited Saturday when a car's catalytic converter busted, sending hot debris into the nearby grassy rangeland.

Ward says the fire near the town of Richfield is about 27 percent contained. It is not threatening any homes.


9:30 a.m.

More firefighters are headed to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in northwest Wyoming.

A fire in Grand Teton park made a 5-mile run Monday, forcing the closure of a 10-mile stretch of road that leads into Yellowstone's South Entrance. More than 4,000 vehicles a day, on average, pass through the south Entrance this time of year. A 60-space campground in Grand Teton also was evacuated.

In neighboring Yellowstone, a fire burning near the West Entrance Road grew bigger Monday and a new team of fire managers was being brought in to help, although the fire was not being actively suppressed yet.

All roads and major tourist areas in Yellowstone remain open, but firefighters are thinning trees and underbrush near the road and the Madison Junction. area as the fire grows.


7:45 a.m.

Crews have fully surrounded a massive Southern California wildfire that burned for a week and destroyed 105 homes and 216 outbuildings.

The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the blaze in San Bernardino County mountain areas is 100 percent contained Tuesday after charring nearly 57 square miles of drought-dry brush.

Investigators are searching for the cause of the fire that broke out last Tuesday about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

Meanwhile nearly 1,900 homes are threatened by a wildfire on California's central coast that grew slightly overnight to nearly 58 square miles.

The blaze in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties remains 35 percent contained after destroying 36 homes.


6:05 a.m.

A destructive wildfire continues to grow as it threatens homes on California's central coast, where more than 2,400 people are under evacuation orders.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday that the blaze has charred nearly 58 square miles of brush in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties.

Spokesman Brian Steiger says the fire is 35 percent contained after destroying 36 homes and 16 other buildings.

Hearst Castle, the palatial ocean-view estate popular among tourists, remains closed because of proximity to the fire.

Eighty miles up the coast, California's biggest fire has burned through nearly 135 square miles of timber and brush in rugged terrain along coastal Highway 1 north of Big Sur. It's 60 percent contained. More than 400 homes remained threatened by the fire.