Washington Wildfire Biggest In State History

Steve Surgeon, a mechanic and scrap-metal seller, lost everything he owns except for his home on the outskirts of Okanogan. He stayed in his house while flames were just feet from his porch.


“There were no witnesses to the actual event of the truck leaving the road, except Daniel, who is not able to talk to us for quite some time”, Phipps said Sunday at a news conference in Wenatchee.

The Okanogan (oh-kah-NAH’-guhn) Complex of wildfires has surpassed last year’s Carlton Complex blazes.

Currently, more than 1,000 people are fighting the Okanogan blazes and President Obama has signed a federal declaration of emergency for the state.

Sixteen large wildfires are burning across central and eastern Washington, covering more than 920 square miles.

More than 200 homes have been destroyed in the fires and more than 12,000 homes and thousands of other structures remain threatened.

Other states with wildfires include Texas, with two, New Mexico with one fire, and Florida and Louisiana with one wildfire each.

Canada and the US military have also sent crews to help with the effort, which Australia and New Zealand now join.

The resort was open for mountain biking and scenic ski-lift rides before closing for the fire that broke out Sunday afternoon.

Water cannons usually used for making snow were pointed at the fire burning near Snow Summit resort in Big Bear Lake, about 100 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Volunteers must have past firefighting background, experience preparing and work with expert firefighters in the field, the DNR said.

About 70 fire managers from Australia and New Zealand have arrived in Boise and are scheduled to receive protective gear Monday before heading out to fight fires burning in the West. The base will be the staging area for 20 large fire engines and 10 water takers and will be run by a team from San Diego, California.

“The good news is that crews have made significant progress in improving their fire lines and the amount of containment and structure protection”, Goldmark said Sunday morning. Surgeon estimates he lost more than $100,000 worth of property, including his shop, his motorcycle, several cars, a travel trailer and all of his tools.

“I have my life and I have my home”, he said. “Everything else can be replaced”.

Meanwhile, county officials have downgraded some evacuation notices, allowing some people to return to their homes.


Heavy smoke settled back into the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area Sunday after a reprieve from the air pollution Saturday. However, smoke from the U.S.’s many wildfires has been blowing across the border into southern B.C.That has prompted air quality advisories for communities in the Kootenays, the Okanagan and the eastern Fraser Valley. Firefighters across the West saw little relief over the w…

Volunteers Requested to Fight Fires in Washington State