A surge of Western wildfires spreading across parched states prompted two governors to declare states of emergency and forced evacuations of hundreds of homes.
High temperatures and winds are sending wide stretches of mostly rural Washington, Nevada, and Oregon up in flames.
In Washington, the Chiwakum Creek Fire about 10 miles north of Leavenworth – a small town near the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest – had spread across more than 1,200 acres by Wednesday evening per USA Today. As many as 400 people were told to vacate their homes or cabins and 800 or more homes were threatened.
A state of emergency was declared by the governor for 20 counties in Eastern Washington.
The state of Washington received federal approval to utilize a drone that will allow them to help monitor the wildfires.
The Mills Canyon Complex fire, which has blazed through more than 20,000 acres, was 40% contained by Wednesday afternoon.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber also declared a state of emergency so the state could mobilize the Oregon National Guard to help combat the fires. There are 13 ongoing in Oregon.
Some of the hardest –hit areas include the Buzzard complex of fires in the eastern part of the state, which was encroaching on 90,000 acres.
The Bailey Butte fire burned more than 2,000 acres and was moving south into Ochoco National Forest. Combined with the two other fires in Waterman Complex, more than 4,000 acres were burning. The fire first began from lightning strikes. Approximately 428 people were assigned to battle the blazes.
In Nevada, a wildfire near Carson City swept through 150 acres on Wednesday.
In Shasta County, California, the Bully Fire, which was sparked by the exhaust from a marijuana grower’s truck, was 40% contained, according to Cal Fire.
Western Wildfires Prompt 2 Governors to Declare State of Emergency