"Catastrophic fires are burning up and down the West Coast, putting a strain on our firefighting resources," Inslee said. "This proclamation ensures resources are ready to go at a moment’s notice to help protect our communities from another unprecedented fire season."
Per the DNR, which is the state’s largest fire fighting force, they have responded to 891 fires to date this year, whereas in all of 2017 they responded to 853 total.
Here is the full press release from the DNR, dated July 31, 2018:
Wildfires are starting on both sides of the Cascades, with nearly 300 fires in western Washington. Thankfully, using strategies that emphasize quick air attack and positioning equipment in high-risk areas, firefighters have been able to keep 94% of fires under 10 acres.
But the number of fires and weather – 96 percent of the state is experiencing drought-like conditions that increases wildfire risk – is exhausting available resources
Out-of-state assistance is also limited. On Friday, the National Interagency Fire Center raised the national preparedness level to 5 – the highest level – meaning that national resources are fully committed.
All available Type I and Type 2 incident response teams within the Washington-Oregon Northwest Interagency Coordination Center region are also fully committed, with more than 18 large fires burning in our region. As a result, at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Governor Jay Inslee today declared a State of Emergency, which allows National Guard resources to deploy to wildfires.
“The efforts of our firefighters have been nothing short of heroic, but the sheer number and geographic range of wildfires have stretched our resources thin,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Our state is at a very high-risk for even more wildfires, and we need additional resources to keep our communities safe. I want to thank the National Guard for providing help at this critical moment.”
Tomorrow morning, two National Guard Blackhawk helicopters will stage at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane and prepare for initial attack on wildfires. The National Guard is also deploying five 20-person crews in northeast Washington on existing wildfires.
Inslee statement courtesy of governor.wa.gov