‘An unprecedented event’: More than 300,000 acres in Washington have burned since Monday

 Washington Gov. Jay Inslee held a public news conference for the first time in two weeks on Monday. However, before addressing the coronavirus pandemic, Inslee focused on the wildfires raging throughout the state.
More than 330,000 acres in Washington have burned since Monday. Officials say that’s more than double the number of acres burned in all of 2019.
“This is an unprecedented event,” Inslee said. “We’ve fought them before and we know how to do it, but these conditions were unprecedented. They led to explosive growth.”The governor said the heat across the state combined with high winds and low humidity made for unprecedented conditions.
Inslee specifically mentioned the devastation that the people of Malden, a town located in Whitman County, have seen after approximately 80 percent of the town’s buildings are burned.
Inslee said officials in Malden told him “it looked like a bomb went off.” Malden lost its post office, fire station, city hall, library and many homes.
“We want the folks in Malden to know we stand with you,” Inslee said.
There are about 100,000 people across the state without power because of high winds and fires, the governor said. Crews have had a difficult time restoring power due to road closures.
“Families have lost their homes. We know how traumatic that is,” Inslee said. “We intend to get them all the help we can to see them through these troubled days.”
Inslee also discussed the wildfires in Western Washington and mentioned the hundreds of people who have been forced to evacuate Graham, Sumner and Bonny Lake.
“Whatever information you have received from authorities about evacuations or potential evacuations: please heed them,” the governor said. “These fires are extraordinary. They are doing things we’ve never seen before as to how fast they’ve spread.”
Inslee said he has directed the state’s Emergency Management Division and the Department of Social and Health Services to determine what emergency proclamations he should make to expedite cash and food assistance to those in need.
Watch a full replay of his update on the wildfires below:

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