OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — There were 18 large fires burning in Oregon and Washington, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. The blazes are among more than 90 active fires across the country, including in Montana, California and Idaho, the National Interagency Fire Center said.
Scientists say climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the last three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
The largest fire in Oregon is the Double Creek Fire burning in the northeastern part of the state near the Idaho border. As of Saturday, the fire had burned more than 230 square miles. The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center said that the fire grew by 65 square miles overnight.
In central Oregon, the Cedar Creek Fire east of Oakridge has burned nearly 81 square miles. On Friday, officials ordered residents to immediately leave the greater Oakridge, Westfir and High Prairie areas due to increased fire activity.
The Van Meter Fire, which started Wednesday, is burning on Stukel Mountain about 13 miles (21 kilometers) southeast of Klamath Falls. One home and four structures have been destroyed and about 260 structures are threatened by that blaze, officials said.
In Washington state, the Goat Rocks Fire, south of Mount Rainier National Park, was started by lightning and has led to the closure of U.S. Highway 12 and the evacuation of neighborhoods east of the city of Packwood.
Evacuations were also issued for several communities in Cowlitz County in response to the Kalama fire in Gifford Pinchot National Forest southwest of Mount St. Helens.
Another mountain pass on U.S. Highway 2 was closed Saturday due to the Bolt Creek Fire, which sparked evacuations and was dropping ash in Everett and blowing smoke into the suburbs of Seattle.
A red flag warming in Washington remains in effect through Sunday night, meaning that high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds will complicate fire conditions.
AP reporter Gillian Flaccus contributed from Portland, Oregon,
and Andrew Selsky contributed from Salem, Oregon.