Wind-whipped forest fires roared through the southeastern state of Washington, practically wiping out an entire small town and bringing the town hall and fire department to rubble, the authorities said on Tuesday.
Three fires between Colfax and Malden in Whitman County started on Monday, and two, fueled by high winds and an abundance of dry brushes, were still going strong Tuesday morning, officials said.
Firefighters still had no containment flames Tuesday in Malden and in unincorporated areas near Green Hollow Road, in flames that charred 8,000 acres and 2,000 acres respectively, regional fire spokeswoman Sydney McBride said.
The Colfax fire burned 5 mornings and that was 1
The Malden fire destroyed 80 percent of that small town and wiped out the post office, fire department, town hall and adjoining library, sheriff officials said. Half of the buildings in neighboring Pine City were also destroyed by the Malden fire, a state official said.
“It’s a mess,” said Jamie Keller, Whitman County’s shipping manager.
It was not immediately clear whether the three fires in the Palouse area south of Spokane and north of Moscow, Idaho, had resulted in deaths from winds of 75 km / h.
“Hopefully zero,” said McBride, hoping to stem the human toll of these fires.
In addition to the burned down public buildings, according to official information, several houses were also destroyed.
“The extent of this disaster really cannot be expressed in words,” Whitman County’s sheriff Brett Myers said in a statement.
“The fire will be put out, but a church has changed a lifetime. I just hope the fire didn’t cost more than houses and buildings. I pray everyone got out on time.”
This is a developing story. Please update here for updates.