Wildfires in north central Washington State have reached a record size, devouring hundreds of thousands of square miles, but one horse found hope and reassurance in the arms of his rescuer. WUSA9 reported yesterday that a horse found a moment of reprieve with the firefighter who saved his life.
This horse was rescued from the Okanogan Complex of fires, which comprises the Tunk Block, 9 Mile, Lime Belt, Beaver Lake, and Twisp River Fires. Firefighter Daisy Whitelaw told KING 5 News: “I promised I would save them…We did. He hugged me the best way he could and said thank you.”
Much of north central Washington State is currently in flames and the blazes are only expected to grow in the coming days. President Obama declared a state of emergency on Aug. 21, and just this week, the Seattle Times reported that the Okanogan Complex fires have now exceeded the wildfire record set last year by the tragic Carlton Complex fires. The Okanogan Complex fires have grown to more than 256,567 acres, while the Carlton Complex fires reached 256,108 acres.
KING 5 reported yesterday that the wildfires are growing at a rapid rate, fueled by tinder-dry landscape and raging winds. The fires that comprise the Okanogan Complex increased by 2.6 square miles over Monday nights. This fire, which would now cover an area from Puget Sound to Snoqualmie and from Mukilteo to Tacoma, is only 15 percent contained. More than 1,200 people are fighting the Okanogan Complex fire, but more than 5,000 homes are still at risk.
The Chelan Complex Fire, which is 40 percent contained, grew to 88,104 acres yesterday. Other fires, including the Alder Lake Fire and Upper Skagit Complex Fire, have reached 150 acres and 3,675 acres, respectively.
Tragically, three firefighters have died fighting these fires. According to the Seattle Times, more than 900,000 acres have burned so far; hundreds of homes have been lost, while hundreds more remain at risk – and hundreds of people and their animals have been displaced, as well. The Seattle Times’ animated map of the fire growth reveals just how quickly the fires are spreading.
The speed with which these fires are devouring the central part of the state has provided many families with little time to escape unscathed – or to evacuate their animals. But for at least one horse, there’s hope – thanks to firefighters just like Daisy.
Countless other animals still need help, however. NW Equine hopes to help many more equine victims of the fires and has created a page to network needed resources, including pasture, food, and hay. Learn more here.