State DNR Chief: ‘It was a very bad day yesterday’

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TWISP, Wash. -- Peter Goldmark, the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands and the head of the Washington Department of Natural Resources, called Wednesday a tragic day, and one that will not soon be forgotten as three firefighters lost their lives and four others suffered injuries.

"It was a very bad day yesterday," Goldmark said. "It's a very sad occurrence. Our hearts go out to the survivors and the families of those who paid the ultimate price."

Goldmark said two of the injured firefighters worked with the DNR for the state. He said both of those firefighters suffered burns. One was hospitalized and released Wednesday night and the other may have been released Thursday.

A 25-year-old firefighter remains in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center. The exact condition of the fourth was not immediately known.

The deaths and injuries serve as a somber reminder for just how dangerous it is to fight wildfires, Goldmark said, and how these firefighters risk their lives every time they step out to fight.

The U.S. Forest Service released a statement, saying there is "no way to overstate the impact of losing so many of our people within such a short time."

Wednesday night, Governor Jay Inslee said during these tough times, local communities need help now more than ever.

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said President Barack Obama was updated Wednesday evening on the tragic loss of three Washington firefighters.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, the President’s thoughts and prayers are with the families of these brave Americans,” Schultz said.

The president directed his team to stay in close touch with state and local officials as their efforts to fight these fires continue, Schultz said.

For the latest on the Twisp wildfires, click here. 

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