SEATTLE, Aug. 25 (UPI) — The wildfires ravaging central Washington were declared on Tuesday the largest in the state’s history.
An Okanogan Complex of five wildfires has now extended to 256,567 acres or 400 square miles, slightly larger than similar wildfires in 2014.
The complex is composed of the 9 Mile, Beaver Lake, Twisp River, Lime Belt and Tunk Block fires.
On Sunday, the fires grew by more than 26 square miles, with a firefighter spokesman saying the fires could burn for several more months.
By the same token, the complex is Obama-declares-federal-emergency/3451440262213/” target=”_blank”>40 percent contained.
1,250 firefighters have been fighting the flames, 700 of which include Washington National Guardsmen. A call last week for international help has also been answered, with crews arriving from New Zealand and Australia, as fires in other parts of the state are covering more than 920 miles.
Visibility in various areas has been impaired due to smoke, preventing aircraft from supporting ground efforts.
Nearly 400,000 acres of land in total have burned from fires across the state in recent weeks, with 100 homes destroyed in their path. Though some residents have been allowed back, some do not have homes to return to. The local Spokane Indian Reservation had to push back its first day of school from Wednesday to next Monday due to poor air quality and the presence of firefighters on roads used by school buses.
President Obama declared a state of emergency for the state of Washington on Friday.