Publication Date August 23, 2016

Gov. Inslee blames climate change as wildfires rage in Eastern Wash.

United States
A plane drops a load of fire retardant on the north side of Beacon Hill, Sunday, Aug 21, 2016, in Spokane, Wash. The fast moving wildfire is threatening structures as it moves in a north-easterly direction. Photo: Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review, via AP

Several wildfires continued to burn in Eastern Washington Tuesday and Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for 20 counties.

Firefighters appeared to be gaining the upper hand against wildfires burning in the Spokane region, although heavy smoke blanketed the state's second-largest city.

Inslee visited a fire command center on the Spokane County Fairgrounds on Tuesday morning, and blamed tree diseases and rising temperatures caused by climate change for the state's recent spate of record wildfire seasons.

Inslee says diseased trees and climate change have created "explosive conditions" in forests.

"Our forests and wild lands are under attack from climate change," Inslee said