US firefighters killed in fire storm as Australian and New Zealand firefighters leave to assist their US colleagues
Three firefighters have been killed as a firestorm which apparently enveloped their vehicle when it crashed while they were battling a blaze in Washington State.
Four other firefighters were hurt, including one critically, on Wednesday, as crews fought wildfires advancing on towns in the north-central part of the state
Drought and heat have combined to make this fire season one of the most active in recent years.
Nearly 29,000 firefighters are battling some 100 large blazes in states including Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and California.
This season, 13 people have died battling wildfires, including the three in Washington, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, said.
The latest deaths happened in the scenic Methow River valley, northeast of Seattle, but few details were released as officials notified family members.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the four injured also were involved in the crash.
The National Weather Service has warned about weather conditions that could fuel fires in eastern Washington through to Friday.
Temperatures were expected to climb above 32C and relative humidity may drop as low as 14 per cent.