The Biggest Wildfire Ever In Washington Has Destroyed 300 Homes, Forced Hundreds Of Evacuations

Update: The Carlton Complex fire forced as many as 500 residential evacuations by July 25. Four other wildfires in Washington also continued to burn tens of thousands of acres.

1. Updated — July 25, 3 p.m.

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The Carlton Complex fire had destroyed 300 homes by Friday, July 25 according to the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. An additional 300 to 500 homes had been evacuated and the fire had burned 250,489 acres. It was 55% contained.

Reports early Friday indicated only about 150 homes had burned, but Sheriff Frank Rogers said the lower estimate was done before authorities could access the entire burn zone. He later said that “every road lost something,” according to his department’s Facebook page.

Fire spokesman Pete Buist told the Associated Press that it was the biggest fire in Washington history.

Other active fires in Washington Friday included the Chiwaukum Complex fire, the Mills Canyon fire, the Central Washington BAER fire, and the Lone Mountain 1 fire.

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AP Photo/, Joshua Bessex
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4. Multiple wildfires were raging out of control across central Washington on Friday.

AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Mike Siegel

Plumes of smoke above Leavenworth, Washington, Thursday.

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5. The biggest of the blazes, the Carlton Complex Fire, had burned 167,713 acres by Friday. The fire was sparked Monday by a lightning strike.

AP Photo/The Wenatchee World, Mike Bonnicksen

A firefighter puts water on a burning building in Pateros, Washington, Thursday night.

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6. About 100 homes have been destroyed by the fires, authorities estimate.

AP Photo/The Wenatchee World, Don Seabrook

The Carlton Complex Fire burned through this neighborhood in Pateros Thursday night.

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7. Hundreds of homes were evacuated. The evacuations include the entire town of Pateros.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

A group of women pause after sifting through the rubble of a destroyed apartment building destroyed in Pateros.

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8. The Carlton Complex Fire was 0% contained as of late Friday.

AP Photo/The Wenatchee World, Don Seabrook

A plume of smoke and steam rises the Carlton Complex Fire Friday morning.

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9. The Chiwaukum Creek, Mills Canyon, and Kelly Mountain fires had collectively burned nearly 30,000 acres in the Chelan County area.

AP Photo/The Wenatchee World, Don Seabrook

With Lake Chelan in the foreground, with a large plume of smoke and steam rising from just south of Pateros Friday morning. The Chiwaukum Creek fire was burning about 100 miles south of the Carlton Complex Fire.

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10. The cause of the Chiwaukum Creek fire remained under investigation Friday.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Washington, Friday.

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11. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said 2,000 firefighters are working in the eastern part of the state, with about a dozen helicopters from the Department of Natural Resources and the National Guard, along with a Washington State Patrol spotter plane.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

A helicopter flies past a chimney remaining after a wildfire destroyed a home Thursday night in Pateros, Washington.

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12. The fires led Inslee to declare a state of emergency for 20 counties.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Firefighters battles flames from the Carlton Complex fire Friday in Winthrop, Wash.

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13. “We basically evacuated the whole town” of Malott on Friday, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers told the Associated Press.

AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Mike Siegel

Highway 97 between Brewster and Pateros on Friday.

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14. “We know we’ve lost more homes,” he said.

Elaine Thompson / AP

A line of fire snakes along a hillside at dusk Friday, July 18, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash.

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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at

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