Pictures of the Day photo gallery

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Northwest fire crews hope for a break in the weather.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Northwest fire officials told U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that incoming cooler weather could help calm the massive blazes that threaten thousands of homes, but wind storms may cause extreme fire behavior in the interim.

Vilsack, in Portland Friday for a wildfire briefing, said 14,000 homes in Oregon and Washington are currently at risk and the Forest Service is spending $10 million a day for fire suppression in the region. As the warm weather is being replaced this week by cooler conditions from the Pacific Ocean, the cold front could bring rain to western Oregon this weekend, but the transition to the cold front will also bring strong winds across eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon. His images are striking and remarkable because of the sunbathers in the corners of his images. “Jet skiers and boaters are hindering the fire fight on Lake Chelan,” the Chelan Mirror newspaper wrote on Facebook. “Planes can’t scoop water when they are in the way. Please help the pilots, stay out of the way.” Editor’s note: If you’re on your phone right now, click through the images in the slideshow at the top of the story. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Vilsack said, is that 1 to 2 percent of the wildfires — the largest ones, which put most property at risk — are eating up a third of the firefighting budget.

Since most of those fires were started by lightning, they are natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes and should qualify for emergency federal funds, Wyden said. Structural fire crews returned to protect homes on a wildfire in eastern Oregon as National Guard and other fire crews worked to reinforce lines against winds forecast to be gusting up to 40 mph. The largest wildfire in Washington state history grew by more than 22 square miles overnight, and firefighters are worried about high winds predicted for this weekend.

Additional firefighting crews were expected to arrive Friday to help battle a wind-whipped wildfire that prompted evacuation orders for a small Kodiak Island community and destroyed a library and some other properties. Firefighters cut down trees and turned on sprinklers Friday after authorities emptied the community of Essex and turned back traffic where a wildfire had spread close to a highway along the southern edge of Glacier National Park. The 1.7-square-mile wildfire crossed a key ridge south of Essex on Thursday, prompting Flathead County authorities to order evacuations and later close an eight-mile stretch of U.S.

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