UPDATED: Red Flag Warning July 23, 2014

Red Flag Warning July 23, 2014

Red Flag Warning July 23, 2014

Warnings for elevated wildfire danger were issued Wednesday by the National Weather Service for areas in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.

Fire weather watches were issued for areas in Wyoming and Montana.

The Red Flag Warning map was current as of 5 p.m. a.m. MDT on Wednesday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts. For the most current data visit this site. 

 

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President declares disaster in Washington state

President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency for Washington state, where the massive Carlton Complex fire has burned almost 400 square miles and continues to burn despite cooler temperatures and rain in the area.

The fire has already destroyed more than 150 homes — some reports say 200 — including almost the entire town of Pateros, one of many towns in the north-central Methow Valley affected by the fire.

The disaster declaration will open the door to Federal Emergency Management Agency aid and post-disaster funding, The Associated Press reported.

The Carlton Complex, which was ignited by lightning on July 14, has become the largest fire in Washington state history. Having burned more than 250,000 acres, it has surpassed the 1902 Yacolt Burn, which burned more than 238,000 acres and killed dozens of people.

The complex has claimed only one life — that of 67-year-old Rob Koczewski, who died of a heart attack while digging fireline around his home in Carlton.

Four fires make up the complex, which has been burning in severe drought and Red Flag Warning conditions. Hailstorms Wednesday over the fire brought some respite, but also the fear of more lightning strikes.

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Carlton Complex fire largest in Washington state history

Map of Carlton Complex fire as of July 21, 2014.

Map of Carlton Complex fire as of July 21, 2014.

The Carlton Complex fire in north-central Washington is now the largest fire in state history, having burned 370 square miles, an area four times the size of Seattle, USA Today reports. 

It has surpassed the 1902 Yacolt Burn, which consumed 238,920 acres and killed 38 people.

Four fires make up the Carlton Complex – Stokes Fire, Gold Hikes Fire, French Creek Fire and the Cougar Flat — all of which were ignited by lightning on July 14. The rapidly spreading fires, burning in a drought year in severe fire weather conditions, have forced residents to flee many small towns in the Methow Valley.

As of Tuesday, the fire has destroyed at least 200 homes. The fire also ravaged the small town of Pateros, where many homes were destroyed and power has been cut off for days.

Only one life has been lost during the Carlton Complex fire, that of 67-year-old Rob Koczewski, who died of a heart attack while defending his home in Carlton from the fire. 

Another large lightning-caused fire, the Chiwaukum Complex, ignited on July 15 near Leavenworth, in central Washington. There are two other fires burning in the complex along with the Chiwaukum Creek fire — the Kelly and Duncan fires.

The complex has consumed around 11,000 acres and when it first ignited, its massive smoke plume could be seen from Seattle.

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Red Flag Warning: July 22, 2014

Red Flag Warning, July 22, 2014

Red Flag Warning, July 22, 2014

Warnings for elevated wildfire danger were issued Tuesday by the National Weather Service for areas in Oregon, California, Washington, Nevada and Utah.

Fire weather watches were issued for areas in Idaho.

The Red Flag Warning map was current as of 10:00 a.m. MDT on Tuesday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts. For the most current data visit this site.  

 

 

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Fatal plane crash sparks Arizona wildfire

A plane crash north of Sedona that killed four people also ignited a small wildfire on Sunday, The Arizona Republic reported.

The 25-acre Fay Fire is burning about four miles north of Sedona in the Coconino National Forest, the paper reported. One hotshot crew, one helicopter and an air attack have been assigned to fire

The victims of the crash have yet to be identified, officials say. The cause of the crash was unknown as of Monday afternoon.

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Man dies of heart attack while trying to save home from wildfire

A Washington man died of a heart attack this weekend while fighting to save his Okanogan County home from a wildfire, The Associated Press reported Monday morning.

Rob Koczewski, 67, was trying to defend his home in Carlton, in northern Washington’s Methow Valley, from the Carlton Complex fire. Koczewski was a retired U.S. Marine Koczewski and WSP trooper “who was very close with local law enforcement,” The Associated Press said. 

Lightning ignited the four fires that make up the Carlton Complex on July 14; the latest updates have the complex at more than 237,000 acres. At last count, some of the fires had destroyed at least 150 homes, many of which were in the small town of Pateros. 

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