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Gov. Inslee declares statewide emergency due to Washington wildfires

Inslee's statewide emergency allows for resources from across the state to be mobilized to help battle the wildfires.

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a statewide emergency due to the ongoing wildfires burning across the state. He is also planning to sign a proclamation that will allow families who have lost their homes because of wildfires to get cash assistance.

"This is an extraordinary series of events we have suffered," said Inslee during a press conference Wednesday. The governor spoke with media after receiving an update from fire officials and toured the damage done by the Sumner Grade Fire.

"We're still putting out these fires, we're not out of the woods yet," said Inslee, who cited climate change as the growing reason for such catastrophic wildfires. 

"The grass is so dry, the temperatures are so hot, and the winds are so heavy... and these conditions are exacerbated by the changing climate," Inslee said.

RELATED: LIVE UPDATES: Western Washington wildfires

Inslee's statewide emergency allows for resources from across the state to be mobilized to help battle the wildfires. Helicopters from the Washington National Guard have already been working with firefighters on the ground to contain the Sumner Grade Fire. 

RELATED: 'Catastrophic': Gov. Inslee tours Sumner Grade Fire in Bonney Lake

Inslee plans to visit Malden, Wash. on Thursday to tour the town destroyed by wildfire. Most the town's home were destroyed, along with city fall, the fire station, library and post office. 

RELATED: Wildfire decimates entire town of Malden, Washington

Wednesday, Sept. 9

3:15 p.m.

The Sumner Grade Fire, which prompted Level 3 evacuations in Bonney Lake, has grown to 800 acres and is approximately 20% contained, according to East Pierce Fire.

The fire started the night of Monday, Sept. 7 alongside SR 410 before winds and dry conditions fueled the fire from 50 acres to 150 acres on Tuesday. Fire officials were able to get a more accurate number of acres burned on Wednesday, which is 800. They said the fire has not grown from there. At least four structures were destroyed. There are no injuries to report. SR 410 remains closed due to the fire and downed lines. Find traffic updates here.

2 p.m

Gov. Jay Inslee is touring the wildfire area in Bonney Lake this afternoon to see the damage firsthand. He is also getting a briefing from fire officials and is expected to give a media briefing closer to 3 p.m.

9 a.m.

Crews now have a fire line around the wildfire in Bonney Lake.

Requests for more resources on the ground have been approved, though resources are limited due to other fires in the state.

8 a.m.

Decreased winds overnight helped fire crews maintain a 20% containment of the Sumner Grade Fire, according to East Pierce Fire.

The same Blackhawk from the Washington state National Guard  helicopters that were working at the Evans Canyon Fire near Ellensberg are now supporting firefighters in Bonney Lake.

Command team members met for a morning briefing as firefighters continue to battle the blaze that has burned an estimated 150 acres.

5 a.m.

All evacuation areas impacted by the Sumner Grade Fire were upgraded to level 3 overnight, according to Bonney Lake police.

The evacuation area includes portions of unincorporated Pierce County and areas within city limits.

RELATED: 'Please leave now:' Level 3 fire evacuations for parts of Bonney Lake

Tuesday, Sept. 8

10:35 p.m.

The Dieringer School District in Lake Tapps has canceled classes on Wednesday Sept. 9 due to power outages and active fires.

"Many of our students and teachers have no power, no internet, or both which will make remote learning difficult to nearly impossible. Thank you and please stay safe," the school district posted on its Facebook page.

Dieringer joins the Sumner-Bonney Lake and Orting districts in canceling school on Wednesday.

Check school closures here

9:42 p.m. 

Level 3 evacuations continue for parts of Bonney Lake due to the Sumner Grade Fire. The City of Sumner tweeted that the fire is moving east now and there no evacuation orders within Sumner city limits. Residents with questions should call the Pierce County Evacuation Line at 253-798-1571. 

9:19 p.m. 

The Orting School District canceled classes for Wednesday, Sept. 9. 

The district said, "Due to the continued power outage, we have made the decision to cancel school tomorrow, September 9, 2020. This includes all on-site services, meal services, and remote learning for OSD students.  We hope to resume school on Thursday, September 10, 2020 if we are fully operational."

8:23 p.m. 

Level 3 evacuations remain in effect for parts of Bonney Lake. 

Bonney Lake police report, "All areas south and west of SR410 all the way to Angeline Road and Rhodes Lake Road to McCutcheon. Please leave now." 

The City of Sumner tweeted that Winco has been evacuated and is now closed.

The fire sparked early Tuesday morning and was initially reported at around 50 acres, though it grew “significantly” larger than that, state officials said. An immediate estimate of the size was not readily available. 

7:31 p.m. 

The first day of school is delayed again in the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District. Classes are canceled for Wednesday, Sept. 9. and were also canceled Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

The district announced, "With continued power outages, active fires, forecasts for gusty winds & hot/dry temps & increasing evacuations, we are canceling school for Wed, Sept. 9. Kinder Connections, childcare & meal service also canceled. School Sports webinar to be rescheduled."

7:30 p.m. 

The Tacoma Fire Department is on the scene of another brush fire. 

According to TFD, "The brush fire that started at the top of Wapato Hills Park is migrating Southwest toward Wapato St and 64th. Please avoid the area. We are going door to door talking residents. We are not directing an evacuation."

7:12 p.m. 

Level 3 evacuations are in effect for parts of Bonney Lake and Sumner. That means residents are urged to leave immediately. 

Bonney Lake police report, "All areas south and west of SR410 all the way to Angeline Road and Rhodes Lake Road to McCutcheon. Please leave now." 

The City of Sumner tweeted that Winco has been evacuated and is now closed.

6:23 p.m. 

According to Graham Fire & Rescue, a fire is forcing "Level 3 evacuations from 240th to 154th to 264th to the Orting-Kapowsin HWY. Fire danger is high and winds are expected to increase this evening. Evacuation level will be re-evaluated in the morning."

RELATED: Brush fire destroys several homes in Graham

5:55 p.m. 

A brush fire is threatening homes near Bonney Lake and Sumner. Crews are fighting the fire from the ground and air. Officers are helping residents evacuate as flames threaten homes. 

Bonney Lake police report, "Level 2 Evacuation Alert for south side of SR 410. Be ready to go at short notice. Prepare your route. Traffic will be difficult. If you have the opportunity to leave now, please do so. If you have any questions, contact Pierce County Evacuation Line: 253-798-1571."

Credit: KING

RELATED: Unhealthy air across Puget Sound after 330,000 acres burn in Washington in 24 hours

5:30 p.m. 

Fire along I-5 in Federal Way is slowing traffic. 

5:23 p.m. 

Tacoma Fire Department is battling a house fire in the 7400 block of South Pine Street. No injuries are reported. 

5:20 p.m. 

Longtime rink known as Skate Tiffany's in Puyallup caught fire this afternoon. Crews are battling that blaze from the ground.

RELATED: Unhealthy air across Puget Sound after 330,000 acres burn in Washington in 24 hours