Last Updated: Saturday, August 22, 2015

Barack Obama declares wildfire emergency in Washington State — Three firefighters killed


washington state wildfire firefighter
A firefighting crew battling fires along a road on the west side of the Canyon Creek Complex
near Oregon (Reuters: US Forest Service/Handout)
President Barack Obama has declared an emergency for wildfire-ravaged Washington state.

President Barack Obama signed a federal declaration of emergency for Washington state on Friday, authorizing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts in 11 counties and several Indian reservations hard hit by wildfires.

Three firefighters died on Thursday after their vehicle crashed and was overtaken by flames in Washington.

Major wildfires have engulfed atleast 10 US states, with active fires burning some 1.3 million acres (526,000 hectares).

According to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, at least 70 large wildfires or clusters of fires have raged this week through several bone-dry Western states, the bulk of them in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Montana.

At least 30,000 US firefighters and support staff are battling the blazes.