Scores of wildfires ravage US Pacific Northwest

24 Aug 2015


Scores of wildfires continued ravaging the US' Pacific Northwest, particularly Washington state, as more firefighting equipment and manpower arrived from across the nation over the weekend.

Twelve uncontained fires in Washington covered over 600,000 acres yesterday, the National Interagency Fire Center. gov. According to governor Jay Inslee's office over 200 homes had been gutted and 12,000 homes remained threatened.

More resources to fight the fires were rushed in after the Obama administration declared a federal state of emergency in the area last week.

Emergency workers from Australia and New Zealand had also been deployed, and thousands reportedly volunteered when the state called on residents who had firefighting know-how, to help.

The largest set of blazes in Washington was the Okanogan Complex fire, which left three firefighter dead and injured four others last week near the town of Twisp, around 150 miles northeast of Seattle.

The fires extending over 240,000 acres, were contained 10 per cent as of Sunday afternoon.

According to fire spokesman Rick Scriven, firefighters were making good progress in the morning, helped by an infusion of National Guard members, calmer winds, and a layer of fog that lasted into the early afternoon.

Overall, 24 large wildfires or clusters of fires raged across Washington state and Oregon on Sunday, among the nearly 70 blazes burning in Idaho, California and Montana, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise reported.

Inslee's office said as of Sunday, the fires in Washington alone had charred over 590,000 acres (238,800 hectares).

In the state's north-central area, a cluster of blazes burning in Okanogan County swelled some 12,500 acres (5,059 hectares) to 239,733 acres (97,016 hectares) yesterday from the day prior and was just 10 per cent contained, a fire official said.

Also in the area of a resort town at the base of Lake Chelan, another fire cluster had charred 86,400 acres (34,965 hectares), growing by about 1,000 acres from Saturday. It had been contained about a third.

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