Eastern Washington fires destroy homes, force evacuations

AP News
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Posted: Aug 22, 2016 4:57 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Firefighters battled fast-moving wildfires in eastern Washington that have destroyed homes and forced hundreds of residents to flee the flames.

Three blazes in the Spokane region erupted Sunday afternoon, sending families rushing to pile pets and keepsakes into vehicles and hit the road.

The Spokesman-Review reported (http://bit.ly/2bHZgLr ) that homes burned in the Beacon Hill area of Spokane, in wheat country near Spangle and north of Davenport in nearby Lincoln County.

But the extent of the losses and number of evacuees was unclear as firefighters prepared to work through the night and into Monday morning. No injuries have been reported.

Together the three blazes scorched nearly seven square miles of terrain and sent plumes of smoke billowing high over the region.

Residents evacuating from the Beacon Hill-area fire on Spokane's northeast end, where a blaze had scorched 250 acres by Sunday evening, met other homeowners trying to get into their properties, only to be met with roadblocks. The Spokane newspaper said many were left wondering if their homes would be spared.

The largest of the fires began when a power line came down in a field near Spangle, south of Spokane. The blaze chewed through almost four square miles as it raced across the parched landscape, consuming wheat stubble, brush and trees — and a few homes.

In Lincoln County, about 35 miles east Spokane, a 2.5-square-mile wildfire north of Davenport jumped the Spokane River and threatened dozens of homes, engulfing several of them, the paper reported.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com