iN VIDEO: Hundreds of homes burn as deadly wildfires ravage the Pacific Northwest | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy
3.5°C

Penticton News

iN VIDEO: Hundreds of homes burn as deadly wildfires ravage the Pacific Northwest

Hollie Jordan surveys her father's service station that was destroyed by a wildfire on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Malden, Wash. "This was filled with work and life and memories and it's all gone," said Jordan.
Image Credit: (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)
September 09, 2020 - 6:00 PM

The raging wildfires south of the U.S.-Canada border in the Pacific Northwest have destroyed hundreds of homes, in one case levelled an entire small town in eastern Washington, and continue to threaten hundreds more.

The fires are burning a large swath of Washington state and Oregon, with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown warning they are looking at what could be the greatest loss of life and property in that state's history. At least two people were reportedly killed in Oregon fires, and in northeastern Washington, a one-year-old boy died after his family was apparently overrun by flames while trying to flee a wildfire.

In the Pacific Northwest, scenes of lines of vehicles clogging roads to get away from the fires were similar to California's terrifying wildfire drama, where residents have fled fires raging unchecked throughout the state. But officials said they did not recall so many destructive fires at once in the areas where they were burning.

The Northwest is no stranger to wildfires, but most of the biggest ones until now have been in the eastern or southern parts of the region — where the weather is considerably hotter and drier and the vegetation more fire-prone than it is in the region's western portion.

The Washington state Interagency Coordination Centre says today, Sept. 9, continuous strong winds have expanded fire perimeters threatening several communities. The Cold Springs, Pearl Hill, Lionshead, and Beachie Creek wildfires have all experienced large growth as hot, dry conditions persist with low humidities overnight.

The Cold Springs fire, burning out of control about an hour’s drive south of Osoyoos near the town of Omak, has burned 74,090 hectares since it began Sunday evening. Highs are expected to remain in the 30s Celsius.

Washington State wildfires - the Cold Springs wildfire near Omak, and the Customs Road wildfire (3) near Curlew (flame).
Washington State wildfires - the Cold Springs wildfire near Omak, and the Customs Road wildfire (3) near Curlew (flame).
Image Credit: Northwest Interagency Coordination Centre

Closer to the British Columbia border, the Customs Road fire, which is exhibiting extreme behaviour,  is burning around two kilometres west of Curlew, Washington, and just south of Midway, B.C. The 1,040 ha wildfire, which began Sept. 7, is believed to be human caused. Fifty residences are threatened with five residences destroyed and another 130 structures at risk.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said more than 133,546 hectares burned during a 24-hour period — an area larger than what normally burns during an entire fire season that lasts from spring into the fall.

About 80 per cent of the small eastern Washington farming town of Malden was levelled by flames from a fast-moving fire on Monday. Among the buildings that burned were the town's fire station, post office, City Hall and library.

In Sumner, Washington, on Wednesday helicopters flew over a ridge, dropping water on smouldering areas. Bud Backer, fire chief for East Pierce Fire & Rescue, told Inslee that the recent winds were “like a blowtorch.”

A commercial building that was destroyed by wildfire is shown Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Malden, Wash.
A commercial building that was destroyed by wildfire is shown Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Malden, Wash.
Image Credit: (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

This photo taken from the home of Russ Casler in Salem, Ore., shows the smoke-darkened sky well before sunset, around 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.
This photo taken from the home of Russ Casler in Salem, Ore., shows the smoke-darkened sky well before sunset, around 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.
Image Credit: (Russ Casler via AP)

— With files from The Associated Press


To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips totips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.

News from © iNFOnews, 2020
iNFOnews

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile