Nightly News | August 16, 2012
>>> now to the wildfires burning across the american west . there are at least 70 major fires now in 13 states west of the mississippi, a result of course of our record hot, dry summer . nbc's kristen dahlgren is in central washington , ellensburg, where some people have lost everything.
>> reporter: this was terry and virginia's home.
>> that was our kitchen and this is our living room.
>> reporter: forced to evacuate on their wedding anniversary , by the time they got back their marriage was one of the few things they had left.
>> daunting to think about starting over?
>> well, we didn't have insurance, so that was not a good thing.
>> reporter: down the road their neighbor mary schultz is sifting through her broken memories.
>> those are mom's and those are grandma's bowls.
>> reporter: her house was saved in the nick of time and somehow the horses she was forced to leave behind in the rush to evacuate survived.
>> my pony was right here. you can see the fire just ate into his pen.
>> reporter: there are miracles here. this house surrounded by flames tuesday still standing today. but some 70 homeowners were not as lucky. today as temperatures soared to near record levels, the fire moved farther in to dense, dry forest .
>> i think we'll probably see temperatures in the 90s in most locations tomorrow.
>> reporter: it's the story across the region in idaho the battle is just as desperate.
>> right now we have 18 fires. we lost a firefighter up in northern idaho this last week. and so every one of those become very personal.
>> reporter: it's close to home in california, too, in riverside county marine choppers join the fight. for now it's working and firefighters expect to have this blaze fully contained by saturday but that is just one success in a season turning into a worst case scenario across the west. take a look and you can see another one of those miracles out here but if you take a little bit of a wider view, you get another look at how devastating this fire is. one firefighter was treated for minor burns today and crews say this is really the time of day that they worry about when the winds and the heat pick up. this fire is only one-quarter contained.
>> what an incredible sight. we can't emphasize enough for some folks this fire season is just getting started. kristen dahlgren