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Firefighter injured in Washington's largest burning wildfire

In this photo released by The Eastern Area Incident Management Team, a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) drops retardant on a wheat field as crews continue to battle a wildfire in eastern Washington state Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018.
Eastern Area IMT via AP
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FILE: In this photo released by The Eastern Area Incident Management Team, a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) drops retardant on a wheat field as crews continue to battle a wildfire in eastern Washington state Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018.

A firefighter is being treated at a Seattle hospital after being burned in wildfire in eastern Washington.

Okanogan County fire officials said Brett Read, 38, was injured Saturday as he attempted to flee an unexpected flare-up of the Grass Valley Fire.

That blaze started from an unknown cause Saturday afternoon and has burned 75,000 acres in Douglas County. It is the largest fire burning in the state.

Ben Shearer, a spokesman for the wildfire management team, said crews faced a nightmarish situation -- 25-mph winds blowing 60-foot-high walls of flame through thick sagebrush and cheatgrass.

Read and another firefighter were attempting to flee their position when Read became separated from the engine he was working on, according to a statement from Ed Townsend, chief of Okanogan County Fire District 8. Read is a firefighter with that district. 

The second firefighter was not hurt, the statement said.

Read was taken to Grand Coulee, then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said he's out of intensive care and in satisfactory condition.

Weather over the weekend was dry and windy with lightning – a bad combination. Washington State Department of Natural Resources said there were 68 new wildfires over the weekend.

Northwest News Network’s Emily Schwing contributed to this report.

Year started with KUOW: 2015