By Don Nelson
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee dropped by Twisp Town Hall last Friday, during a Methow Valley visit that was disrupted by the outbreak of the Rising Eagle Road Fire, to assure Mayor Soo Ing-Moody and other local officials that he will assist the fire-ravaged area any way he can.
Most immediately, that would mean declaring a disaster related to the Carlton Complex Fire, then channeling a request for a federal disaster declaration to President Obama, who makes the final decision (see related story, page A1).
Inslee told Ing-Moody that a disaster declaration “is a probability,” given the amount of damage caused by the fires. “It’s mostly a numbers game,” he said.
“The best thing we can do is be fast and diligent,” the governor said of the damage assessments.
Accompanying Inslee were Robert Ezelle, director of the state’s Emergency Management Division, Bud Hover, director of the state Department of Agriculture and a Methow Valley resident, and Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the state’s adjutant general and head of the military department.
Hover said his department had teams in the area that are assessing damage to area’s agriculture industry.
Daugherty said the state is prepared to provide more National Guard personnel if requested. “I’ve got 8,000 guys who want to help,” he said.
Inslee said it’s possible that the state can assist the area with marketing efforts to encourage tourists to continue coming to the valley.