Washington, Oregon Wildfires: Temperatures, Fire Danger to Rise Again

Washington Wildfires

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, stands with Rep. Brad Hawkins, at the site of a home that was destroyed by wildfires near the Alta Lake Golf Course in Pateros, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(SOURCE)  Washington and Oregon are under siege from about 20 major wildfires across the two states, and as brisk winds prevail in some of the fire zones, temperatures are also expected to rise in the coming days.

Both states, particularly Oregon, have been hit hard by drought, leading to dry foliage that’s easily ignited by lightning strikes. Firefighters continued to make progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire the state’s history under control, with wetter weather bringing some relief but also raising concerns about flash flooding.

Washington Wildfires

Smoke and flames rise from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Washington. (AP Photo)

  Temperatures have cooled down in the region on the heels of triple-digit heat, providing much-needed relief for the thousands of firefighters trying to keep the flames at bay, but changing weather conditions in the coming days won’t provide much certainty for containment efforts, according to weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

Highs could rise near the triple digits again in the next few days in parts of Oregon and Washington, and if that happens, firefighters will be battling brutal conditions as they attempt to get a grip on these massive blazes.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency Wednesday for the state of Washington because of the fires. The declaration authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief and help state and local agencies with equipment and resources.

With that said, here’s a look at some of the major wildfires in Washington and Oregon:

Washington Wildfires:

Carlton Complex Fire: (250,000 Acres Burned; 52 Percent Contained)

The Carlton Complex fire started in the Methow Valley in Okanogan County, Washington roughly 7 miles south of Twisp, Washington, after a lightning strike on July 14, and has since grown to become the largest wildfire in state history. At more than 250,000 acres, the fire eclipsed the 1902 Yacolt Burn, which torched 238,920 acres and killed 38 people, according to the Associated Press and HistoryLink.org.

Rainy conditions helped firefighters immensely on Wednesday, as fire containment grew from 16 percent to 52 percent. Humidity also increased on Wednesday, which also prevented the fire from growing much, according to officials.

  • Rob Koczewski, 67, died of a heart attack trying to defend his Carlton, Washington, home from the flames, KING 5 reported
  • Destroyed an estimated 150 homes
  • More than 2,800 firefighters are battling the blaze
  • Most of the Methow Valley remains without power or cell service. Restoring power could take weeks. 
  • More than 1,100 additional structures are threatened
  • Most of the homes were destroyed in or around Pateros, Washington

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