SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Driven by scorching hot temperatures and strong winds, a new central Washington wildfire is threatening hundreds of homes and sending up a towering column of smoke.
The Chiwaukim Creek fire about 10 miles north of Leavenworth had raced across more than 1,200 acres by Wednesday evening and prompted the closure of a 15-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 2.
A Chelan County emergency management spokeswoman says as many as 400 people have been told to leave their homes or cabins and another 800 homes are threatened.
A state of emergency has been declared in 20 eastern Washington counties because of multiple wildfires and temperatures in triple digits. The declaration allows state officials to call up the Washington National Guard. It also directs state agencies to help local governments respond to wildfires.