Washington town evacuated, some homes burned in wildfire

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A small town in Washington state was evacuated due to a fast-moving fire that burned a half-dozen homes, as crews in California made progress against the state’s deadliest and largest wildfire of the year.

In Washington, the Adams County Sheriff’s Of-fice said on Facebook early Thursday afternoon that residents of Lind needed to flee due to the encroach-ing flames.

“At this time all residents of the town of Lind need to evacuate immediately,” the sheriff’s office said in the post.

Later Thursday, Sheriff Dale Wagner said six homes had burned as well as eight other structures. With the help of state and local resources, Wagner said the fire was starting to calm down and by 8 p.m. all evacuation orders had been lifted.

“They will be fighting it through the night to make sure it doesn’t flare up anymore or get worse,” he said, adding that firefighters were dealing with high heat and windy conditions.

He said one firefighter suffered smoke inhalation and was flown to Spokane for treatment. Lind is a community of about 500 people approximately 75 miles (121 kilometers) southwest of Spokane.

The State Fire Marshal’s office said the blaze had burned through about 3.9 square miles (10.1 square kilometers). Homes, infrastructure and crops were threatened. The cause of the fire was under investi-gation.

Meanwhile, in California, fire crews on Friday morning were working amid thunderstorms that brought light precipitation along with the possibility of dry lightning that could spark new blazes.

A separate set of firefighters in the area have been put on standby to jump on any new fires, ac-cording to Mike Lindbery, a spokesperson for the McKinney Fire in California’s Siskiyou County near the Oregon border.

The Smokey Fire, which ignited Thursday, was one such new fire. Crews have kept it to 34 acres (13.76 hectares) and hope to have it contained within the next day or two, Lindbery said.

Forecasters have also warned that spiking tem-peratures and plunging humidity levels could create conditions for further wildfire growth.

California and much of the rest of the West is in drought and wildfire danger is high, with the his-torically worst of the fire season still to come. Fires are burning throughout the region.

After five days of no containment, the nearly 60,000-acres (24,281.16-hectare) McKinney Fire remained 10% surrounded on Friday. Bulldozers and hand crews were making progress carving firebreaks around much of the rest of the blaze, fire officials said.—AP

 

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