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Flooding, fires in Douglas, Grant counties prompt Inslee to declare emergency

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(The Center Square) – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in Douglas and Grant counties after flooding and wildfires earlier this month.

“Agencies and departments are directed to utilize state resources and to do everything reasonably possible to assist,” Inslee said in the proclamation.

Douglas and Grant counties saw a strong thunderstorm on July 10 that caused flash flooding and fires, damaging parts of U.S. 2 and S.R. 28. This brought closures and “limited access” to roads, so Inslee declared a state of emergency in the counties on July 24 to assist recovery efforts.

The storm brought heavy rain, causing flash flooding on U.S. 2 from mileposts 166 to 170. This damaged the road’s lanes and ditches, causing closures and detours in Douglas County.

The storm also sparked multiple fires, damaging S.R. 28 from mileposts 22 to 24. This caused road closures in both counties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized federal funds to help Washington fight the Baird Springs Fire near Quincy on July 11. The grant frees FEMA funds for 75% of the state’s eligible firefighting costs, and Washington can access another $1.2 million to mitigate future wildfires and related hazards.

“Road damage impacts the life and health of our citizens, as well as the property and transportation infrastructure,” the proclamation reads, “all of which affect life, health, property and the public peace, and constitute a public emergency.”

Inslee ordered the implementation of the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, directing state entities to do “everything reasonably possible” to help recovery efforts. The Washington State Military Department activated the State Emergency Operations Center, according to KREM.

Officials need to undergo “emergency procurement of a contractor” to fix the damage, according to the proclamation, but the Washington State Department of Transportation is coordinating with state and federal agencies to repair the roads.

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