Washington, Oregon fires burn out of control, destroying homes

WA-OR fires, 2014-07-17 at 10.41.21 PM

Many wildfires in Oregon and Washington state are burning out of control this week, as both states have been issued almost daily fire weather warnings. Here’s a wrap up of some of the major fires burning in both states:

Chiwaukum Creek Fire: Ignited by lightning on Tuesday, this rapidly spreading wildfire had consumed 6,630 acres by Friday morning, and forced nearly 900 residents near Leavenworth, Washington to evacuate this week. The fire forced the shutdown of several miles of U.S. Highway 2.

The fire is part of the Mills Canyon Complex, which includes the Mills Canyon Fire, burning near Entiat and now at 22,571 acres, and the Kelly Mountain Fire, also near Entiat, which has burned between 60 and 80 acres.


Meanwhile, the Carlton Complex  in the Wenatchee National Forest in Washington has forced all residents of the small town of Pateros to evacuate. One of the complex’s four fires has already destroyed many homes and made a run that, by Friday morning, put the fire’s size at 260 square miles, The Associated Press reported. That’s about 167,000 acres. Reports vary as to how many homes the fire has destroyed, but the latest estimate seems to be at least 100. 

All of the Carlton Complex fires were ignited by lightning on July 14: Stokes Fire, Gold Hikes Fire, French Creek Fire and the Cougar Flat fire. The Stokes Fire and the Gold Hikes fire have merged into one fire, according to Inciweb.   


There are currently 14 major fires burning in Oregon. The Moccasin Hill Fire has destroyed an unknown number of homes–at last count, officials said that 33 had been destroyed. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has declared a state of emergency. 


Oregon: Moccasin Hill Fire

A fire 24 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, Oregon (see the map below) burned approximately 20 structures and 2,900 acres by 1 a.m. on Monday, according to reports from the National Interagency Fire Center and the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership. The Moccasin Hill Fire, reported at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, has forced the evacuation of about 100 residents.

Sunday night the resources assigned to the fire included 10 engines, 3 crews, 3 dozers, 1 water tender, one single engine air tanker, five helicopters, three heavy air tankers, one very large air tanker, one lead plane and one air attack. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

map of Moccasin River Fire
Map showing the location of the Moccasin Hill Fire at 2:44 a.m. PDT, July 14, 2014. The red squares represent heat detected by a satellite. (click to see larger version)