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.
#CarltonComplex tops 250,000 acres, 16% contained this AM. 2110 people are assigned to the fire. The perimeter is more than 100 miles long.
— John Hendricks (@JohnKXLY) July 22, 2014
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.