SPOKANE, Wash. — Authorities urged people in the north-central Washington town of Twisp to evacuate Wednesday afternoon because of a fast-moving wildfire, one of many burning throughout the Northwest.
The Okanogan County Emergency Management department issued the order for the town of roughly 900 people.
Firefighters braced for high winds in the forecast through Friday that threatened to stoke wildfires burning across Eastern Washington.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the eastern portion of the state from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 5 p.m. Friday. Winds were expected to increase to 20 mph by Wednesday afternoon.
Officials said temperatures will climb above 90 degrees and relative humidity will drop as low as 14 percent.
Wildfires burning in Okanogan County had already forced the evacuation of the small town of Conconully, about 20 miles northwest of Omak. Fire officials said the evacuation order for the town of about 200 people was issued Tuesday night.
The Chelan Complex of wildfires grew a bit Wednesday to 108.5 square miles, and continued to threaten the resort town of Chelan in central Washington.
"We've got another huge wind event for the next two days," said fire spokeswoman Sarah Saarloos. "We've got a lot of fire on the ground and we're looking at a perfect storm of increased fire danger."
The Chelan Complex was 50 percent contained on Wednesday and more than 1,100 firefighters continued to build containment lines and protect structures, officials said.
Six helicopters and two airplanes were assisting firefighters.
Officials said the fire has destroyed at least 73 structures in Chelan and Douglas counties.
Sandy Staples-Hector, 75, of Redmond, said a home her parents built in 1967 was destroyed by the flames of the Chelan Complex.
"It was peaceful and beautiful there," she said. "You could have a glass of wine on the patio and the stars would be out and it was so beautiful."
Now the house is just rubble, she said.
"The fireplace is still there," she said. "You see parts of lawn chairs, washers and dryers ... things you would never think would burn."
She said they would rebuild.