A haze of thick smoke formed yesterday over vast swathes of the West as wildfires forced more residents to flee their homes in several states.
Fire officials reported seven homes were destroyed and hundreds of people were evacuated near Casper, Wyoming, where a wildfire has burned across almost 24 square miles. In western Montana, fire crews said there was no containment in sight for a blaze that has prompted an evacuation order for 400 houses west of Hamilton.
With winds dying down, fire crews in eastern Washington were hopeful they could gain ground on dozens of fires sparked by weekend lightning storms, but more evacuation orders were issued yesterday as a wildfire continued to move in the hills west of Wenatchee, a fruit capital on the banks of the Columbia River.
Residents of nearly 120 homes were evacuated due to the fire burning about 140 miles east of Seattle. About 160 firefighters from across the state gathered to help fight the blaze.
Blazes have scorched more than 8.1 million acres across the West so far this year, up from the 10-year average of 6.1 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Centre.