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Washington Governor Issues Emergency Proclamation due to Wildfire Threat



WHEREAS, June 2015 has been significantly drier than normal with above average temperatures; and current and projected weather conditions through September 2015, in conjunction with existing and projected fire fuel conditions, present a continuing high risk of severe wildfires throughout the state of Washington; and
WHEREAS, moist conditions in May spurred significant vegetation growth, and abnormally dry conditions followed in June, leading to the early development of high-risk fire fuel conditions throughout the State; and
WHEREAS, current National Weather Service forecasts predict record to near-record temperatures with an increased threat of localized lightning and windy conditions statewide over the next two weeks, and seasonal weather forecasting models project warmer and drier conditions than normal through September, which, when combined with the existing high-risk fire fuel conditions, support an active burning environment capable of producing multiple large wildfires requiring the need for additional immediate response in any area of the State; and
WHEREAS, the State has already experienced multiple wildfires over the first three weeks of June, requiring response by our limited State and local firefighting resources, and in the past week, new wildfires have required a responsive commitment of these limited resources in Asotin, Chelan, Clark, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Walla Walla, and Yakima counties; and
WHEREAS, the threat to life and property from wildfires is significant and may cause extensive damage to homes, businesses, and public facilities, resources, infrastructure and utilities, impacting the life and health of our citizens throughout the State; this threat may affect life, health, property, or the public peace, and is a public disaster demanding immediate action; and
WHEREAS, firefighting resources throughout the State and western United States are limited and may already be committed to other wildfire preparation and response activities, due to existing and projected fire conditions throughout the region; and
WHEREAS, because available firefighting resources may not be adequate to address the outbreak of additional and simultaneous wildfires resulting from the above noted conditions, the Washington National Guard and State Guard may be needed to assist local jurisdictions and state agencies throughout Washington in responding to this public disaster; and
WHEREAS, the Washington Military Department has activated the State Emergency Operations Center, implemented response procedures, is coordinating resources to support state and local officials in alleviating the immediate social and economic impacts to people, property, and infrastructure, and is continuing to assess the wildfire danger resulting from existing high-risk weather and fire fuel conditions.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jay Inslee, Governor of the state of Washington, as a result of the above-noted situation, and under Chapters 38.08, 38.52, and 43.06 RCW, do hereby proclaim that a State of Emergency exists in all of Washington’s 39 counties and direct that the plans and procedures of the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan be implemented. State agencies and departments are directed to utilize state resources and to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected political subdivisions in an effort to respond to and recover from the incidents. As a result of this event, I also hereby order into active state service the organized militia of Washington State to include the National Guard and the State Guard, or such part thereof as may be necessary in the opinion of the Adjutant General, to perform such duties as directed by competent authority of the Washington Military Department in addressing this event. Additionally, the Washington State Emergency Operations Center is instructed to coordinate all incident-related assistance to the affected areas.
Signed and sealed with the official seal of the state of Washington this 26th day of June, A.D, Two Thousand and Fifteen at Olympia, Washington.
Jay Inslee, Governor
Secretary of State
Last updated: Monday, July 6, 2015