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Washington state wildfire destroys about 100 homes

Written by Godwin Ibe
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A large, wind-whipped wildfire in rural north-central Washington destroyed an estimated 100 homes, forced the evacuation of a small town and cut power to most of a scenic valley....

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A large, wind-whipped wildfire in rural north-central Washington destroyed an estimated 100 homes, forced the evacuation of a small town and cut power to most of a scenic valley.

A spokesman for the Carlton Complex Fire, Jacob McCann, said Friday that the fire "ran quite a bit" on Thursday and officials were also able to get a better handle on its size. It blackened 260 square miles (673 square kilometres) by Friday morning, up dramatically from the last estimate of 28 square miles (72 square kilometres).

Officials say no injuries have been reported.

Authorities say the wildfire has already burned about 100 homes and prompted the evacuation of the small town of Pateros, home to about 650 people in Okanogan County. A hospital in nearby Brewster was also evacuated as a precaution.

"There's nobody in Pateros" except a few "stragglers" who stayed, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said, adding the fire was burning in the town, although the small business district was believed intact.

Rogers said Friday morning that his team counted 30 homes and trailers destroyed in Pateros, another 40 in a community just outside the town at Alta Lake and about 25 homes destroyed elsewhere in the county of about 40,000 people.

Early Friday, the Okanogan County Sheriff's dispatch office said the roughly 300 residents of the Chiliwist Valley, about 15 miles (24 kilometres) north of Pateros, evacuated late Thursday night.

Two major power lines, one feeding Pateros and one feeding Winthrop and Twisp, have burned, causing a widespread power outage in the county, said Scott Miller, the county's emergency manager.

Most of scenic Methow Valley was without power after utility poles burned. The Methow Valley, about 180 miles (290 kilometres) east of Seattle, is a popular area for hiking and fishing.

Worsening wildfire activity has prompted the governor's offices in both Washington and neighbouring Oregon state to declare states of emergency, a move that allows state officials to call up the National Guard.

There were 13 large fires burning across Oregon.

Associated Press writer Donna Gordon Blankinship contributed to this report from Seattle

 

Read more http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/washington-state-wildfire-destroys-about-100-homes-1.1920458

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