Although crews have reported good progress in containing massive fires in north-central Washington that have burned for more than 10 days, officials on Friday confirmed that some 300 homes were destroyed in the inferno, double what they had previously estimated. "It's every road. Every road lost something," Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers told Associated Press. "It looks like a moonscape; there's nothing left. There's hundreds of dead livestock. It's horrifying."
The fire, known as the Carlton Complex, is the largest in Washington state’s history, having eclipsed the 1902 Yacolt Burn in southwest Washington. The blaze was sparked by lightning on July 14 and has since raged through nearly 400 square miles of wilderness in Methow Valley, a popular spot for fishers and hikers located about 180 miles northeast of Seattle.
The fire began as four separate fires that merged and rapidly spread southeast. On Tuesday, firefighters and local authorities -- whose efforts were complicated by downed power lines, which hampered communications -- caught a break when cooler weather and higher humidity allowed them to contain some of the flames.
By Wednesday, President Obama issued a state of emergency in Washington and authorized the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid state officials in disaster relief. In all, more than 2,500 people worked to contain the Carlton Complex fires.
Residents who live in the affected areas can use extra-large generators without receiving permits first, Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday. One death, a man who suffered a heart attack while trying to protect his home from the fire, has been reported.
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Photos from where the fire swept through depict the charred remains of homes and the carcasses of livestock killed in the flames.