As of Wednesday, August 19, 2015
TWISP – Three firefighters died this afternoon while fighting fire near Twisp.
Four others were injured, Gov. Jay Inslee said.
Details remain sketchy.
Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers confirmed the deaths, but was not available for comment.
Angela Seydel, a spokeswoman for the Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management, said she understands the firefighters were in the Twisp River fire area. No additional details were available.
“I was just told that three firefighters died while battling the Twisp fire and four were injured,” Inslee said. “My heart breaks over the loss of life. I know all Washington joins me and Trudi in sending our prayers to the families of these brave firefighters. They gave their lives to protect others.”
The governor’s office said no additional details were available.
Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who is in Okanogan County checking on fires, said the firefighters were from the U.S. Forest Service.
“All of DNR is saddened by the loss of these brave USFS firefighters, who died while protecting our communities.”
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest spokeswoman Kathy Dowd said she had no additional information and did not know for sure to which agency the firefighters belonged.
“It was their calling, but the loss for their families is immense and I know the community will come together to support them,” Inslee said. “We will also keep the injured firefighters in our prayers.
“The conditions throughout the area remain extremely dangerous and I hope residents and visitors will heed evacuation orders or other emergency directions.”
Twisp and Winthrop have been evacuated because of the rapidly moving fire, which erupted earlier in the day.
Gov. Jay Inslee has requested a federal emergency declaration to provide additional resources to cover some costs related to multiple wildfires burning in Eastern Washington. Eleven counties and four tribes are affected or threatened by fire.
The fires have destroyed more than 50 homes, 60 other structures and more than 235,000 acres of land.
A shelter has been set up at Brewster High School.