Federal wildfire officials say eight major fires are burning more than 220,000 acres in Washington and Oregon. That doesn’t count several other fires burning in Idaho.
UPDATE: Three new fires that ignited last night are burning on the Colville Indian reservation, including two near Nespelem.
One of them has burned more than a thousand acres. Level 3 mandatory evacuations are in place in the Owhi Flats area along Cache Creek Road, the town of Nespelem and the Colville Indian Agency. A shelter is now in place at Coulee Dam High School. Power and phone service has been interrupted in some areas.
The Northwest Interagency Coordinating Center says four of the region’s largest fires are in southern Oregon, including the largest, the Bootleg fire.
The rest are in Washington and spread out. Up north in the Cascades is the Cedar Creek complex of fires near Mazama, which have forced the closure of state Highway 20. The Burbank fire near Yakima is burning about 12,000 acres of grass. In the southeast corner, the Dry Gulch fire near Asotin has grown by about nine thousand acres to 55,000. It’s burning tall grass, brush and timber. Winds from the west have blown the smoke toward Lewiston and the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, where the air is considered unhealthy. And the Green Ridge fire is nearby. It’s actually two fires that have burned about 200 acres in steep terrain about 30 miles east of Walla Walla.
Across the border in Idaho is another of the region's largest fires, the Snake River complex, which is burning nearly 78,000 acres, up from 54,000 on Saturday.
Many, though not all, of these fires were started by lightning last Wednesday.
Weather forecasters worry that dry thunderstorms expected this afternoon and evening will spark more fires up near the Canadian border in Okanogan and Ferry counties.