Tags: twisp | washington | wildfire | kills | firefighters

Twisp, Washington Wildfire Kills 3 Firefighters, Injures 4 More

Image: Twisp, Washington Wildfire Kills 3 Firefighters, Injures 4 More
Fire burns on the ridge above a ranch on Twisp River Road in Twisp, Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. Authorities on Wednesday afternoon urged people in the north-central Washington town to evacuate because of a fast-moving wildfire. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

By    |   Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 08:43 AM

Three firefighters died in the north-central Washington wildfire as it advanced on the towns of Twisp and Winthrop on Wednesday, while four more were injured.

"The firefighters were engaged in initial attack operations and were involved in a vehicle accident when it is believed that the fire overtook the vehicle," said a statement from Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, relaying information from Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers, The Associated Press reported.

"They gave their lives to protect others," Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement the same day.

"It was their calling, but the loss for their families is immense and I know the community will come together to support them. 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."

KING 5 News reported that one of the injured firefighters, a 25-year-old, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. Three other injured firefighters were taken to area hospitals as well, however their conditions were unknown.

"It was a hellstorm up here," said Rogers. "The fire was racing and the winds were blowing in every direction and then it would shift . . . It was tough on 'em up here."

Twisp and Winthrop have a combined population of roughly 1,300, and both were evacuated Wednesday as the fire, named the Twisp River Fire, grew to roughly two square miles.

To the east, another group of fires covering roughly 50 square miles forced the evacuation of the town of Conconully. To the south, 1,100 firefighters are combating a fire roughly 110 square miles in breadth.

"It is really bad out there. The fires have just exploded," said Angela Seydel, a spokeswoman for Okanogan Emergency Management. "We're just directing everybody to head south."

 


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Three firefighters died in the north-central Washington wildfire as it advanced on the towns of Twisp and Winthrop on Wednesday, while four more were injured.
twisp, washington, wildfire, kills, firefighters
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2015-43-20
Thursday, 20 Aug 2015 08:43 AM
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