Massive wildfires in Washington state have forced the evacuation of roughly 900 homes and have destroyed roughly 150 homes as it has burned. According to InciWeb, which tracks the movement and size of wildfires, three different active fires are burning more than 270,000 acres of land in Washington, as of Monday morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Thousands of Firefighters and National Guard Members Are Trying to Extinguish the Fires
CBS reports more than 9,000 firefighters are on the ground trying to fight the blazes tearing through Washington state and Oregon, while 1,000 National Guard members are on call to help in Washington state. In Eastern Washington, roughly 2,000 have been working with around 12 helicopters from the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the National Guard, according to KIRO-TV.
2. Some Towns Are Without Electricity and Cell Phone Service
— Alana Brophy (@AlanaBrophyKBOI) July 21, 2014
Some areas affected by the fire may be without power for weeks, according to KREM.com. Authorities said the city of Pateros will likely be without power for a month. Pateros and the towns of Winthrop, Twisp, and Mazama are entirely without internet and phone service because of the fires.
3. The Fires Should Die Down as Long as Winds Don’t Pick Up
I have two friends fighting this crazy wildfire in central Washington state. pic.twitter.com/rlPQp9dGGg
— Jamon Holmgren (@jamonholmgren) July 21, 2014
Greg Koch, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Spokane, told KIRO-TV the region’s weather on Monday and Tuesday should help the fires die down, as it will be cooler and less windy than it was over the weekend. A massive rain front is expected to reach the area on Wednesday, which should help control the fire, but the rain brings the possibility of lightning as well.
4. The Red Cross Has Opened Four Different Shelters in the Area
With hundreds of people evacuated from their homes and damage from the storm turning homes to rubble, the Red Cross has opened four different shelters in four different communities to deliver hot meals. The locations of the shelters are:
-Brewster High School, 503 S. 7th, Brewster
-Chelan High School, 215 W. Webster, Chelan
-Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church, 328 N. Riverside, Omak
-Winthrop Barn Auditorium, 51 N. Hwy 20, Winthrop
5. Some Local Businesses Remain Open
— Forest News (@EI_Forest) July 21, 2014
According to CNN, some businesses in the area have stayed open in spite of the fires, although they have sent workers home so they could evacuate. Naomi Roberts, manager of Gustav’s Grill and Beer Garden in Leavenworth, Wash. said:
“Campers are getting evacuated. The highway to Seattle is shut down. So they are coming to us.