Olympia — A state of emergency has been declared in Benton, Franklin and 18 other Eastern Washington counties because of multiple wildfires in many parts of the state threatening homes, businesses, farms and natural resources.
The weather is expected to cool after today in the Mid-Columbia, but cooler weather will bring breezes and low humidity that will increase fire danger.
A red flag fire warning has been issued for the Mid-Columbia by the National Weather Service from 2 p.m. today to 11 p.m. Friday.
The state of emergency declared by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, acting for Gov. Jay Inslee, provides for the use of the Washington National Guard and the State Guard if needed to fight fire.
It also directs state agencies to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected local governments in responding to and recovering from the fires.
The emergency declaration covers Benton, Franklin, Adams, Columbia, Grant, Walla Walla, Yakima, Adams, Asotin, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Whitman counties.