| 16 July 2024, Tuesday |

Washington state wildfire threatens homes, farms, gas pipeline

A fast-growing wildfire forced residents to evacuate a rural stretch of southern Washington state’s Klickitat County on Saturday after it burned more than 30,000 acres in less than 24 hours.

The Newell Road Wildfire has already destroyed several structures in the area and is threatening homes, farms, crops and livestock, solar and wind farms and a natural gas pipeline, county emergency officials said.

The fire was also moving toward the Yakama Indian Reservation, Allen Lebovitz, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Natural Resources, said in an interview in Bickleton, a community of about 80 people about 120 miles (190 km) east of Portland, Oregon.

“It’s very difficult terrain to fight fire,” Lebovitz said. “We are under a red flag warning. That’s a firefighter’s worst nightmare because the humidity is dropping precipitously. The winds are picking up. And so the fire carries extremely fast.”

Firefighters from across the area have descended on the blaze that is burning just north of the Columbia River, which marks the state’s border with Oregon. Officials have not said what caused the fire, and there have been no reports of injuries or deaths.

  • Reuters