Three firefighters in Washington were killed Wednesday and four others were injured when winds shifted unexpectedly near the towns of Twisp and Winthrop, turning flames on crews.
“We are devastated by the tragic loss of three of our Forest Service firefighters,” Mike Williams, forest supervisor on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, told NBC News. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and fellow crewmembers of these brave firefighters.”
The biggest of the series of fires, the Soda fire over the borders of Oregon and Idaho (where the above video was shot), is now 95 percent contained, though fires continue to burn throughout the others states.
On Tuesday, the Defense Department said that it would – for the first time in almost 10 years – assemble 200 active-duty service members to help fight the fires.
Residents in towns across the states have been evacuated, and fire and burn bans have been enacted in areas. But with dry, hot, windy weather in the forecast for the next few days, rescue teams and firefighters are bracing for the worst.