100 homes destroyed as Washington wildfires rage

BY Xander Landen  July 20, 2014 at 7:57 PM EDT
Photo by Elaine Thompson/AP

A series of wildfires that began last week continued to rage in Washington state, as thousands of firefighters were deployed throughout the region. Photo by Elaine Thompson/AP

Wildfires in Washington state continued to rage Sunday, burning more than 360 square miles of land so far and destroying homes and power lines in their path.

High temperatures combined with dry conditions and wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour fueled the wildfires over the weekend. Yesterday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said that fifty separate blazes were burning in the state, including in the Methow Valley where at least 100 homes have been damaged beyond repair.

Residents in that area have been without power for days, as crews attempt to clear roads in the area — a feat officials estimate will take at least three more days.

More than 2,000 firefighters from Washington, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming have been deployed throughout the region, as wildfires threaten to spread even further, Chuck Turey, a Washington fire spokesman told the Associated Press. 

“We’re seeing some wind shifts so that the fire is going to be pushed in some directions it hasn’t been pushed to date,” Turey said.

The series of wildfires began last week, when lightning strikes ignited four small fires, the AP reported. Since then, fires have combined and expanded.

Weather reports for the region call for cooler temperatures and lighter winds at the beginning of next week, which officials hope will help contain the blaze.