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Continued: Crews make gains on destructive Washington state wildfire; flash floods now a concern

  • Article by: , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 22, 2014 - 8:45 PM

Gov. Jay Inslee briefed Obama on the fire situation after the president arrived in Seattle Tuesday afternoon at the start of a three-day West Coast trip.

"We have real significant challenges," Inslee said. "To have the president here today is actually a stroke of luck."

Inslee said Obama called Koczewski's wife to express his condolences.

Inslee said officials will assess damage to determine whether the state qualifies for a major disaster declaration that would allow people whose properties have been damaged or destroyed to seek additional resources.

Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell were among a dozen U.S. senators who sent a letter to Senate leaders Tuesday asking for passage of emergency legislation to allocate $615 million to fight wildfires.

Fires are currently burning in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and California, and both Oregon and Washington have declared states of emergency.

Inslee said that while it was promising that firefighters had gained some ground on the fire, "it's still a growing and dangerous beast."

"We have a long, long ways to go in the fire season, months, before we're out of the woods," he said.

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