OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire has declared a state of emergency for Kittitas and Yakima counties in response to a wildfire burning near Cle Elum, a small, central Washington town about 75 miles east of Seattle.
The proclamation, issued Tuesday afternoon, was requested by the state Department of Natural Resources, and will allocate additional firefighting resources to the fast-moving wildfire that has already destroyed about 70 homes and burned across nearly 40 square miles on the east slope of the Cascades.
The department has requested air support from the Washington National Guard to assist in containment efforts
Because Gregoire is on vacation in Ireland, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen signed the proclamation at her request. Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis says that Gregoire plans to be back in the state next week, but is getting hourly updates on the fire.