Hundreds of homes threatened by Wash. wildfire

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Hundreds of homes threatened by Wash. wildfire
A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
PATEROS, WASHINGTON - JULY 20: Randy Loucks, right, of Brewster, Washington and Rich Pitkethly of Brewster dig through the remains of a home belonging to Loucks mother-in-law following a wildfire July 20, 2014 in Pateros, Washington. The home was destroyed in a fire storm July 17. Loucks had just finished sprucing up the house with new paint and carpet as a surprise to his mother-in-law, who is visiting relatives in Arkansas. Several fires throughout the state have destroyed hundreds of home forced evacuations and continue to threaten more communities. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
PATEROS, WASHINGTON - JULY 20: A United States flag is displayed amid the ruins of a block of homes following a wildfire July 20, 2014 in Pateros, Washington. Several fires throughout the state have destroyed hundreds of home forced evacuations and continue to threaten more communities. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
PATEROS, WASHINGTON - JULY 20: A home destroyed by wildfire overlooks the Methow River July 20, 2014 in Pateros, Washington. Several fires throughout the state have destroyed hundreds of home forced evacuations and continue to threaten more communities. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Firefighter Kathleen Calvin looks around as she sits atop her fire truck while waiting to begin work as smoke from a wildfire fills the sky behind Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Winthrop, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
PATEROS, WASHINGTON - JULY 20: Randy Loucks, right, of Brewster, Washington and Rich Pitkethly of Brewster dig through the remains of a home belonging to Loucks mother-in-law following a wildfire July 20, 2014 in Pateros, Washington. The home was destroyed in a fire storm July 17. Loucks had just finished sprucing up the house with new paint and carpet as a surprise to his mother-in-law, who is visiting relatives in Arkansas. Several fires throughout the state have destroyed hundreds of home forced evacuations and continue to threaten more communities. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Flames shoot from behind a house during a wildfire Friday, July 18, 2014, near Pateros, Wash. Authorities say the wildfire has already burned about 100 homes and prompted the evacuation of Pateros, home to about 650 people in Okanogan County. A hospital in nearby Brewster was also evacuated as a precaution.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Firefighters works on the still-smoldering home of the mayor of Pateros, Wash., Friday, July 18, 2014. A fire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes, leaving behind smoldering rubble, solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles. Friday's dawn revealed dramatic devastation, with the Okanagan County town of Pateros, home to 650 people, hit especially hard. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A firefighter works on the still-smoldering home of the mayor of Pateros, Wash., Friday, July 18, 2014. A fire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes, leaving behind smoldering rubble, solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles. Friday's dawn revealed dramatic devastation, with the Okanagan County town of Pateros, home to 650 people, hit especially hard. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A plume of smoke is seen over Interstate 25 as the Waldo Canyon wildfire moved into subdivisions and destroyed homes in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Gaylon Wampler)
David Burdick walks past the smoldering remains of his niece's home after sifting through the rubble Friday, July 18, 2014, in Pateros, Wash. A fire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes, leaving behind smoldering rubble, solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles. Friday's dawn revealed dramatic devastation, with the Okanagan County town of Pateros, home to 650 people, hit especially hard. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Massive flames burn trees in the Chiwaukum Creek Fire as seen from the air near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A plane drops fire retardant on the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke and flames rise from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014, in this aerial photo. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Flames from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire are seen from the air near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire is seen from the air with Mount Rainier in the background near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire is shown from the window of an airplane flying near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Flames from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire are seen from the air near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A Chinook helicopter carries a water bucket above the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Flames burn trees in the Chiwaukum Creek Fire as seen from the air near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A wildfire burns near Entiat, Wash., Friday, July 11, 2014. Several hundred firefighters worked Friday to contain the fire that has burned grass and brush across nearly 30 square miles in central Washington. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
Smoke rises from the area of a wildfire near Entiat, Wash., Friday, July 11, 2014. Several hundred firefighters worked Friday to contain the fire that has burned grass and brush across nearly 30 square miles in central Washington. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
Smoke rises from the area of a wildfire near Entiat, Wash., Friday, July 11, 2014. Several hundred firefighters worked Friday to contain the fire that has burned grass and brush across nearly 30 square miles in central Washington. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
A helicopter carries a bucket of water to the area of a wildfire near Entiat, Wash., Friday, July 11, 2014. Several hundred firefighters worked Friday to contain the fire that has burned grass and brush across nearly 30 square miles in central Washington. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
Smoke and flames are seen from the air at the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this Sunday July 13, 2014, photo released by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, the Moccasin Hill fire burns north of Sprague River and northeast of Klamath Falls, Ore. Lightning struck Oregon more than 6,000 times Sunday and Monday, touching off small fires by the dozens. Such a barrage can be expected to cause numerous "sleeper" or holdover fires in coming days. (AP Photo/Oregon Dept. of Forestry, Dennis Lee)
A plane drops fire retardant on the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke rises from the area of a wildfire near Entiat, Wash., Friday, July 11, 2014. Several hundred firefighters worked Friday to contain the fire that has burned grass and brush across nearly 30 square miles in central Washington. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
In this aerial photo, smoke billows from a wildfire in the Manastash Ridge area of central Washington Thursday, July 3, 2014, near Ellensburg, Wash. The blaze was reported about Thursday afternoon and has so far burned across about 2,000 acres of sagebrush, temporarily closing a nearby eastbound section of Interstate 82. Jim Duck, at the Central Washington Interagency Communications Center, said five helicopters were fighting the fire with help from several bulldozers and several dozen firefighters and said that no homes are threatened. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
Smoke and flames are seen from the air at the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke from a separate fire north-east of the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., is seen from the air, Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke and flames rise from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014, in this aerial photo. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The Chiwaukum Creek Fire is seen from the air near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A plane drops fire retardant on the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The Chiwaukum Creek Fire is seen from the air near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smoke filters through trees as seen from the air at the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
PATEROS, WASHINGTON - JULY 20: Randy Loucks, right, of Brewster, Washington and Rich Pitkethly of Brewster take a dig through the remains of a home belonging to Loucks mother-in-law following a wildfire July 20, 2014 in Pateros, Washington. The home was destroyed in a fire storm July 17. Loucks had just finished sprucing up the house with new paint and carpet as a surprise to his mother-in-law, who is visiting relatives in Arkansas. Several fires throughout the state have destroyed hundreds of home forced evacuations and continue to threaten more communities. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
PATEROS, WASHINGTON - JULY 20: A utility pole destroyed by fire is a tangle wood and wire July 20, 2014 in Pateros, Washington. A wildfire ripped through the the block on July 17. Several fires throughout the state have destroyed hundreds of home forced evacuations and continue to threaten more communities. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
PATEROS, WASHINGTON - JULY 20: Randy Loucks, right, of Brewster, Washington and Rich Pitkethly of Brewster dig through the remains of a home belonging to Loucks mother-in-law following a wildfire July 20, 2014 in Pateros, Washington. The home was destroyed in a fire storm July 17. Loucks had just finished sprucing up the house with new paint and carpet as a surprise to his mother-in-law, who is visiting relatives in Arkansas. Several fires throughout the state have destroyed hundreds of home forced evacuations and continue to threaten more communities. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
A DC-10 air tanker pulls up after dropping fire retardant over a wildfire Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Wash. A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Clouds of smoke billow from a wildfire Friday, July 18, 2014, near Twisp, Wash. A fire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes, leaving behind smoldering rubble, solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles. Friday's dawn revealed dramatic devastation, with the Okanagan County town of Pateros, home to 650 people, hit especially hard. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - With a wildfire fueled by strong winds tearing through timber in its path, authorities in Central Washington have urged residents of nearly 900 homes to flee.

There was zero containment Wednesday in the Chiwaukum Creek fire burning about 10 miles north of the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth. In that town, the temperature hit 104 and a light dusting of ash fell.

The fire's smoke plume, visible for miles, rose 25,000 feet into the air.

The blaze closed 35 miles of U.S. Highway 2, stretching from Leavenworth to Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains.

Residents of 860 homes have been told they should leave immediately, fire spokesman Rick Acosta said late Wednesday. A Chelan County emergency management spokeswoman said earlier that another 800 homes were less seriously threatened.

With more heat and winds gusting to 30 mph forecast for Thursday, Acosta said fire officials were putting the new day's plan together late Wednesday.

Another fire spokesman earlier estimated the Chiwaukum Creek fire's size at nearly 2 square miles but Acosta said it was so smoky and the fire had moved so quickly that officials just didn't know how big it was. It was first detected Tuesday.

Nearly 1,000 firefighters were on the lines at the Chiwaukum Creek fire, the Mills Canyon blaze near Entiat and a third wildfire. The containment level on the Mills Canyon fire, the state's largest at 35 square miles, held steady at 40 percent.

Worsening wildfire activity has prompted the governor's offices in both Washington and Oregon to declare a state of emergency, a move that enables state officials to call up the National Guard. In Washington, that declaration covers 30 eastern Washington counties.

State fire assistance was ordered for the Carlton Complex of fires burning in north-central Washington's Methow Valley, where residents of about a dozen homes have been told to leave. Spokesman Jacob McCann said Wednesday evening that complex has burned across 7 square miles with zero containment.

The Washington National Guard sent two helicopters and 14 people to help.

Wildfires were also burning in Oregon, Utah, Idaho and California.

In southern Oregon, a Klamath County wildfire turned out to be more destructive than authorities initially believed.

After the fire burned in the rural Moccasin Hill subdivision near Sprague River earlier this week, officials reported that six houses were destroyed, along with 14 outbuildings. But fire managers toured the burn area Tuesday and spokeswoman Ashley Lertora said they found 17 residences and 16 outbuildings destroyed.

A fire that started Wednesday afternoon in a northeast Oregon field west of Heppner raced quickly across as much as 20,000 acres, or some 30 square miles, before firefighters from two counties got it stopped, the Morrow County sheriff's office said.

Undersheriff Steven Myren said no homes or other structures were lost, "although the fire did get uncomfortably close to some."

Oregon fire officials said Wednesday that the Bailey Butte fire - part of the Waterman Complex - had burned more than 3 square miles west of Mitchell and was moving south into the Ochoco National Forest in central Oregon. Two other fires near Service Creek and Kimberly brought the Waterman Complex to more than 6 square miles, or 4,000 acres. The fires are in timber, grass and brush.

In north-central Oregon about 15 miles north of the town of Warm Springs, the lightning-caused Shaniko Butte fire spread quickly in dry, grassy fuels. Pushed by wind, it had burned across 20,000 acres by late Wednesday. It started Sunday.

In Utah, a wildfire encroaching on homes in the Tooele County town of Stockton had burned about 400 to 500 acres. Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands spokesman Jason Curry said the fire burned part of a water tower but it's believed no homes have been destroyed.

In central Idaho, the lightning-caused Preacher Fire has scorched nearly 53 square miles in two days, burning quickly through grass and brush. But fire managers said Wednesday they had made good progress.

Evacuation orders have been called off for several rural homes in Northern California as firefighters took advantage of cool, moist conditions.

Some residents near the fire in Shasta County have been advised they may need to evacuate again, and the blaze that has burned more than 10,000 acres - or nearly 17 square miles - still poses a threat to nearly 70 homes, state fire officials said in a statement Wednesday night.

The fire was 40 percent contained, up from 20 percent on Tuesday.

Marijuana-growing activity led to the fire breaking out on Friday and subsequently destroying eight homes, authorities said.

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