"Poorly-attended campfires, train and machinery sparks, tossed cigarette butts and dry weather" were factors, but add some lightning to the mix, and cities in the Northwest need to be evacuated, leaving homes and cars behind for the blaze.
Reuters reports that crews are making progress in calming the wildfires throughout Washington and Oregon, but the flames took their toll in the last seven days. As apkiwa put it yesterday over at Gawker:
This is a pretty exceptional fire. It's immense, fast moving, aggressive and has eaten several entire towns. I was actually staying with friends in this area this week and watching this 467 SQUARE MILE (yes, really) fire defy any attempts to contain it. 100 homes is a very low estimate. Local estimates are much higher.
The wind changed late last night and my friend's home is now in the line of fire (literally), and I had to be evacuated. This is seriously nightmarish stuff, guys.
This data is aready out of date, it is already far larger than this, with areas of the fire expanding as much as 15 miles overnight, but it gives you a good idea of the scope.
Indeed. By this time, thousands got evacuated from their homes while the fire has scorched at least 336 square miles in north-central Washington and about 492 square miles in eastern Oregon.
What's left behind is Fallout 3 without the radioactive stuff.
At least the fire hydrant could avoid rapid oxidation.
Photo credit: Getty Images and AP