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article imageWashington's Okanogan wildfire is largest in state's history

By Karen Graham     Aug 24, 2015 in World
Firefighters from as far away as Australia and New Zealand have arrived in the western U.S. as massive wildfires are racing through forests from Washington state to California and elsewhere.
In Washington, a complex of fires raging in the north-central part of the state has now erupted into the largest wildfire in the state's history. Overnight measurements put the blaze at over 400 square miles in size.
Fire spokesman Rick Isaacson told King5 News on Monday the Okanogan Complex fires grew by 26 square miles over Sunday and are expected to grow even larger over the next few days. Isaacson called the information "unfortunate because it is only August, and the fires could burn for several more months.
The number of homes destroyed by the fires has still not been determined. About 1,250 people are battling the flames and over 5,000 structures are in danger of being destroyed. The lightening-caused wildfire is only 10 percent contained.
The face of an unknown firefighter reflects a tiredness born of dedication to the job.
The face of an unknown firefighter reflects a tiredness born of dedication to the job.
Wochit News
Komo News reports that Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Monday that last year's Okanogan wildfires were grouped closer together, and 300 homes were lost. Rogers added that with fires burning all over the large county, it will take a long time to determine how many structures were lost this time.
The Okanogan Complex is made up of the 9 Mile  Beaver Lake  Twisp River  Lime Belt and Tunk Block fi...
The Okanogan Complex is made up of the 9 Mile, Beaver Lake, Twisp River, Lime Belt and Tunk Block fires.
USFS
Additional firefighters joined those already battling the fires today. Additional National Guard members were added, bringing the total of guardsmen to 700 on the fire lines. Australia and New Zealand sent about 70 fire managers. They arrived in Boise, Idaho today and after picking up protective equipment, will be heading out to fight fires burning in the west.
With sixteen large, active wildfires burning in Washington, social media has played a key role in keeping people up to date on evacuation orders, changes in wildfire status, and much needed emotional support. One common phrase seen on many posts is, "Do not wait for door-to-door notification."
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USFS
Updates from the U.S. Forest Service
The National Interagency Fire Center update on August 24 lists the following active fires by state:
California has 13 active fires, including the Big Bear fire, at this time with none being contained. Over 288,000 acres are involved.
Idaho has the biggest number of active wildfires, with 17 different blazes covering 181,300 acres. None of those fires have been fully contained.
Montana has 12 active wildfires, including one new wildfire, covering a little over 59,000 acres with no full containment seen.
Oregon firefighters are battling 11 wildfires covering 419,201 acres with no full containment seen on any of the fires. Other states with wildfires include Texas, with two, New Mexico with one fire, and Florida and Louisiana with one wildfire each.
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