Three firefighters were killed and three to four others were injured today as raging wildfires advanced on towns in north-central Washington.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee confirmed the firefighters lost their lives while battling with Twisp fire.
He says his heart breaks over the loss of life, and maintains conditions are dangerous, asking residents and visitors to heed to evacuation orders.
US media is reporting strong, erratic winds are fanning the flames and officials are evacuating the entire north-central Washington towns of Winthrop and Twisp, which have a combined population of about 1,300.
Twisp is 135 kilometers south of Osoyoos.
The situation is dire, according to Rose Olcott.
Wednesday, Chelan resident Rose Olcott – who had sent her children to another town in Twisp – was taken aback by the news that town – and the town of Winthrop – were ablaze.
Olcott says even though there were evacuations last year involving another fire, the loss was still tough.
But the communities work through this evacuation calmly.
“They heard the word fire, they knew exactly where everything was. They knew how to evacuate. Everybody was calm, everybody reached out to the community, there were a lot of people meeting at the gas stations, in grocery store parking lots…just to make sure that all of their friends and family were safe.”
Olcott says her home is in Chelan, so she’ll be able to go back there.
Many of those in Winthrop and Twisp need help – having lost much of their possessions.
“There are a lot of people that have not had time to even process what’s going on. It’s really too soon for anyone to understand the magnitude of what’s going on. So it’s pretty much a waiting game and helping people right now in their time of need.”