OKANOGAN COUNTY, WA - Okanogan Co. Sheriff Frank Rogers says 3 firefighters have died on the front lines in Twisp, WA.

The Okanogan County Sheriff says the deaths happened on Department of Natural Resources land near Twisp. The firefighters were involved in an accident when the fire overtook their vehicle.

Okanogan County Emergency Management says the entire towns of Winthrop and Twisp are now being evacuated from the Okanogan Complex Fire.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources says the fire is burning about eight miles west of Twisp and more than 20 structures are threatened.

The Okanogan County Emergency Management says the fire is advancing from Twisp River Road toward Twisp and Winthrop.

Twisp residents were told to head south immediately and told to be aware of their surroundings.

Winthrop residents were told not to evacuate directly to State Route 20 towards Twisp due to congestion. Instead they are being advised to drive south on Eastside Road past the Smokejumper Base, then head southeast on Highway 20/Highway 153 to the Red Cross Shelter in Brewster.

A Red Cross Shelter for Twisp residents has been opened at Brewster High School.

Fire officials say the Okanogan Complex Fire, consisting of the Lime Belt & Blue Lake Fires, the Tunk Block Fire, the Beaver Lake Fire and the Nine Mile Fire, has burned nearly 31,000 acres.

Governor Jay Inslee issued this statement after learning about the three firefighter deaths:

"I was just told that three firefighters died while battling the Twisp fire and four were injured. My heart breaks over the loss of life. I know all Washington joins me and Trudi in sending our prayers to the families of these brave firefighters. They gave their lives to protect others. It was their calling, but the loss for their families is immense and I know the community will come together to support them. We will also keep the injured firefighters in our prayers. The conditions throughout the area remain extremely dangerous and I hope residents and visitors will heed evacuation orders or other emergency directions."

Congressman Dan Newhouse released this statement:

"I offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of the three firefighters who fell in the line of duty while battling the wildfire near Twisp. We mourn their loss and honor their sacrifice. My prayers go out for a swift recovery for the four firefighters who have been injured, and we pray for the safety of those who continue to fight the fires, protecting the lives and property of our neighbors. I encourage local residents to take every precaution as conditions remain dangerous and to comply with evacuation orders and emergency management. Now that Governor Inslee has requested federal assistance, I will support his request at the federal level."

This is the second time firefighters have been killed while working a fire in Okanogan County. In 2001, 4 firefighters died while fighting the Thirty Mile Fire near Winthrop.