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A wildland firefighter badly burned in the 2015 Twisp River blaze has reached a $5 million settlement with two utility companies that he had sued for allegedly failing to keep branches away from a power line that state officials concluded caused the ignition.
One of Washington’s largest and longest-burning wildfires continues to grow in central Washington, forcing evacuations and spewing spires of smoke into the atmosphere.
Mandatory evacuations are being ordered in eastern Washington state as a wildfire continues to spread.
High temperatures and drought created an explosive fire season in Washington in 2015. Fires across the state raged out of control, including one outside of Twisp that killed three U.S. Forest Service firefighters.
The fire that started just north of Twisp River Road on Aug. 19, 2015, was like any other that hot, dry summer. But before the day was over, more than a dozen firefighters and bulldozer operators would be trapped by the fire and three would die.
An investigation by the Washington state Department of Natural Resources found that tree branches rubbing on a power line started the 2015 blaze near Twisp that killed three firefighters.
SEATTLE – The 25-year-old man severely injured in a Washington wildfire that killed three of his fellow firefighters left the hospital Wednesday after three months of treatment, but his recovery is far from complete. Daniel Lyon, who suffered burns on more than 60 percent of his body Aug. 19, still hasn’t regained use of his hands, and it will take time to get his body functioning well enough to go back to work. He wears a facemask and other wraps to help his wounds heal.
Many communities across Okanogan County had a brief let-up from fires scorching the region Friday evening. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said the threat to people and homes was lower. In many areas the flames moved away from communities and into heavier timber, he said. Still, he emphasized that the threat wasn’t over.
Residents living along Twisp River Road from Arnica Lane to Little Bridge Creek in Okanogan County are now under a Level 3 evacuation order, which means they should leave immediately.
The men who died Wednesday fighting a fire near Twisp were a college physics student who had a passion for theater, an outdoorsman who recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and the son of a firefighter who yearned for a career in the Forest Service. The three men, Tom Zbyszewski, 20; Andrew Zajac, 26; and Richard Wheeler, 31, were killed after the vehicle they were in crashed and was enveloped by flames. Another firefighter, Daniel Lyon, 25, was critically injured and is being treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He arrived at the hospital Wednesday night with burns to about 60 percent of his body, the hospital said in a statement.
Many businesses were open in Twisp on Thursday despite evacuation orders still in place. “The people who stayed are carrying on,” said Twisp City Councilman Dwight Filer.
The three firefighters killed Wednesday in Twisp were Tom Zbyszewski, 20, Andrew Zajac, 26 and Richard Wheeler, 31.
WINTHROP, Wash. – Three firefighters were killed and four others injured Wednesday as raging wildfires advanced on towns in north-central Washington. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said the deaths in a wildfire near Twisp were confirmed, but he said he was not immediately releasing further details about the circumstances. The firefighters who died were members of a Forest Service crew from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Rogers said.
WINTHROP, Wash. - The U.S. Forest Service closed a large chunk of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River drainage Wednesday due to a forecast of hazardous fire weather and because close to 20 fires already are burning on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District.
OLYMPIA -- Saying his "heart breaks" over the loss of life, Gov. Jay Inslee confirms three firefighters died battling the blaze in Twisp.
Three firefighters were killed and four others were injured Wednesday as raging wildfires advanced on towns in north-central Washington, authorities said.
Okanogan County officials are evacuating the city of Twisp because of a fast-moving wildfire.
TWISP – As summer turns to fall in Central Washington, residents are preparing to fight the third “F” disaster of 2014. First fires. Then flood. Now FEMA. The Methow Valley and the apple-centric communities of Pateros and Brewster lost some 353 homes to the firestorms that began in mid-July. The fires weren’t fully under control on Aug. 14 when heavy rains pushed slurries of mud, ash, gravel and rocks down scorched hillsides, breaking irrigation dams, turning creeks into rivers, flattening buildings and washing out roadways.
WINTHROP, Wash. – Gov. Jay Inslee flew to the Methow Valley to talk with local officials about recovering from last week’s fires that are slowly being contained in Central Washington. Instead, he and other state officials spent part of their visit Friday afternoon talking about efforts to fight a new fire.
As Gov. Jay Inslee’s small turboprop plane touched down at the Methow Valley airport, a new wind-whipped blaze, started by sparks from the rim of a flattened trailer tire dragged along a road, was torching the hillside above the staging area for the region’s fire-fighting helicopters.