Whole of Washington State is under inferno alert as wildfires continue to burn
The entire state of Washington is under inferno alert as wildfires continue to burn
- More than 20,000 acres burned this weekend in the northwestern state
- The largest wildfire in the state, Gray Fire in Spokane County, continues to spread
- One person died as thousands were evacuated from two northeastern provinces
Terrifying wildfires that have killed one person so far continue to sweep through Washington state this weekend with more than 20,000 acres burned.
The entire northwestern state remains on alert, while the largest park area – Mount Spokane State Park – is closed to the public as firefighters battle to contain the inferno.
In eastern Washington’s Spokane County, the largest wildfire razed 10,892 acres of land, destroyed nearly 200 buildings and killed at least one person as thousands evacuated the danger zone.
The blaze – known as Gray Fire – started around noon Friday on the west side of Medical Lake, about 15 miles west of Spokane. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources warned that the fire is still spreading.
In an update on Sunday, the department warned that despite the best efforts of firefighters, the blaze was still “0% contained,” and that it was engulfing more land to the southwest.
This map shows how many fires are burning in eastern Washington and western Canada. All of Washington is currently under some sort of wildfire alert
A grab from a TikTok video shows the gray fire burning in eastern Washington on Saturday. The fire killed at least one person and destroyed nearly 200 buildings
Another sample from the same video shows a classic Pacific Northwest backdrop of Douglas firs and water, but shrouded in smoke and flame
This warning from Washington State shows how the entire state is now under some sort of wildfire-related alert
This image shows the large swath of Spokane Valley in eastern Washington, which has been warned to prepare for evacuation as wildfires continue to burn
“Still many dangers within the burnt areas.” a spokesman for the department said. ‘Bleeding natural gas pipelines, trees fall over, etc.’
There are also 27 smaller wildfires raging over a combined 10,000-acre area in scattered locations across the state.
Transportation officials have said dense smoke is the biggest challenge for emergency responders because visibility is so poor they can’t deploy air assets in many areas.
Huge plumes of smoke are rising over Spokane County, as fumes from the Canadian wildfires raging just beyond the northern border exacerbate the problem.
Level three evacuation orders are in effect in Spokane County and Ponderay County to the north, home to about 560,000 people.
A terrifying photo shows a road disappearing in the yellow-gray smoke caused by the fire
Meanwhile, the longest highway in Washington state, I90, has been closed for more than 24 hours due to the fires and people are advised to take alternate routes.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee said the fires are a result of climate change and urged residents to “be safe” by listening to emergency responders.
“As these fires rage in Spokane County, we want to thank the first responders who are doing such a great job in a coordinated effort – thank them if you get the chance… We will continue to help in any way we can.
“This is so tricky, and there’s a certain irony that I’m at a conference on how to combat climate change, and the fires are being caused by this.
“Let’s think of the people of Spokane and also during the recovery – be safe.”
Spokane County’s air quality has reached an index of 349 – which is the most extreme category of “dangerous” for anyone breathing the air.
A healthy AQI would fall within 0 to 50.