A firefighter keeps watch over a controlled burn while
battling the Carlton Complex Fire near Winthrop,
Washington. REUTERS/David Ryder
A massive wildfire raging east of Washington state's
Cascade Mountains is showing signs of calming, with fire crews
saying they have slowed the expansion of a wind-whipped blaze
that has destroyed about 100 homes and displaced hundreds of
The Carlton Complex blaze did not grow overnight, the first
time since the fire was triggered by lightning strikes six
days ago that it showed any sign of abatement, local
By early Sunday, the fire was still burning over 280,000
acres (113,311 hectares) in Washington's Methow Valley, about
120 miles (195 km) northeast of Seattle, but its perimeters
were not expanding.
"It seems to be calming down a whole lot," said Okanogan
County Sheriff Frank Rogers. "The weather is definitely a
help. It's cooled down a whole lot. It's also burning out in
Ten people remained unaccounted for as of Sunday, though
Rogers said that could reflect outages of phone service. No
major injuries had been reported.
The blaze has scorched at least 336 square miles (870 sq km)
of dry timber and grasslands in north-central Washington
since Monday, destroying about 100 homes and forcing hundreds
of people to evacuate in several towns and rural areas.
The wildfire was one of about 18 burning across the Pacific
Northwest, from northern California to Idaho, amid
drought-like conditions that have made the region's annual
fire season more active than usual. The governors of Oregon
and Washington each declared fire emergencies last week.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee was due Sunday to tour some of
the affected areas, including the towns of Omak and Malott,
which was under a second day of evacuation orders.
In the town of Pateros, home to about 650 people, some 40
homes and dwellings were destroyed and many others left badly
damaged or uninhabitable, emergency management officials
Rogers said that if conditions continued to improve Sunday,
some evacuation orders would be lifted across the region,
home to about 10,000 people. Many area residents were likely
to return to homes without electricity as a result of the
fire knocking out power lines across the region.
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.