Worst Wildfire in Washington State History

A massive wildfire is raging in Washington State. Situated about 120 miles northeast of Seattle, it is known as the Carlton Complex Fire.

Starting off as four separate wildfires, they have now merged into one massive blaze. Charring 375 square miles of parched land since last week, it is now the largest wildfire the state has ever seen. As of Sunday, according to local officials, more than one hundred fifty homes have been destroyed, hundreds of people have been displaced, and at least one death has been reported.

Sparked by lightning, this fierce fire is being fueled by drought, unusually high temperatures, and gusty winds.  Currently only 2% contained, weather conditions are likely to change in the coming days and give firefighters a helping hand. Forecasters say cooler, moist air will move into the region and winds should ease. Nonetheless, if this incoming  weather pattern generates thunderstorms more fires could be ignited.

This blaze, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, is just one of 24 large wildfires currently burning in the drought stricken American West.

Carlton Complex Fire rages in Washington State.  Credit: KING5

Carlton Complex Fire rages in Washington State. Credit: KING5

US_Drought_west

Drought conditions across the American West. Credit: US Drought Monitor.

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.