Containment efforts were aided by cooler weather and slowing
winds, allowing some 1300 firefighters battling the Carlton Complex
blaze about 120 miles (195 km) northeast of Seattle to halt the
spread of flames and lower evacuation orders in some areas.
"Firefighters are working hard to take advantage of today’s
predicted quieter winds to help them get the remaining portions of
the fire lined," incident Commander Bruce Holloway said in a
statement. "They are focusing near homes and communities where
The fire, one of about 18 raging from northern California to Idaho
as the Pacific Northwest enters its annual fire season, has been
especially vexing because it is near populated centers in
Washington’s picturesque Methow Valley, home to about 10,000 people.
Weather conditions for the early part of the week appeared positive,
with a drop in temperatures and some rain expected on Wednesday
after a stretch of significant heat and strong winds that helped fan
the fire over 238,000 acres (113,311 hectares), forecasters said.
Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said damage was still being
assessed, but estimated that up to 150 homes in a half-dozen towns
and rural communities had been lost. There were no reports of
By early Sunday, the blaze had stopped expanding and evacuation
orders were lifted in some areas, including the badly damaged town
of Pateros, which was emptied of its 650 residents last week.
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"It seems to be calming down a whole lot," Rogers said.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee toured damaged towns, meeting with
affected residents and pledging help to rebuild homes.
The blaze has scorched at least 336 square miles (870 sq km) of dry
timber and grasslands in north-central Washington since it was
sparked by lightning on Monday.
The region's biggest fire, the lightning-sparked Buzzard Complex,
has burned about 315,000 acres (127,476 hectares) in eastern Oregon
and residents in the largely rural area on Sunday were experiencing
heavy smoke conditions.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Scott Malone, Andrea
Ricci, Sharon Bernstein and Clarence Fernandez)
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