A cluster of Washington state wildfires grew to more than 300 square miles on Saturday, officials said, making it the largest groups of wildfires in Washington state history. The Carlton Complex fires have burned at least 336 square miles in and around Okanogan County since they were ignited by lightning on Monday, according to Washington State Emergency Management spokesman Mark Clemens. Firefighters have been unable to contain the blaze because of gusty winds and high temperatures. The fire has damaged phone and power lines throughout the area, leaving up to 3,000 people without power, Clemens said. Generators have been sent to the rural towns to keep water and sewer services running, and it may take up to two weeks to restore electricity once the fire is contained, he added.
At least 500 residents of Malott — about 221 miles northeast of Seattle — were evacuated Friday, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers told The Associated Press. Rogers later told the AP that at least one home burned in the small town. The Washington National Guard has sent six helicopters and 100 active-duty soldiers are on standby, Washington Military Department spokeswoman Karina Shagren told NBC News.
Washington Wildfires Burn Homes, Force Evacuations
Gallery: Massive Wildfires Scorch 100 Homes in Washington
— Jacob Passy and Jacob Rascon
First published July 18 2014, 9:47 PM