NPR Story
4:51 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Wildfires Blaze Their Way Across The Northwest

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:53 am

As wildfires continue to blaze around the Northwest, both Oregon and Washington have issued emergency declarations for fire-ravaged portions of their state. Affected are 20 of Washington's eastern counties and central Oregon, where most of the state's 13 active fires are burning.

Cindy Harper lives in the small central Oregon town of Mitchell. For much of this week, Mitchell’s major road has been closed as flames have crept up literally to the highway's edge. It's the road Harper uses to get to work over in Redmond -- and she has a long detour:

Harper's solution? She's staying home.

"I'm not taking a three-hour drive," she said.

The flames are well outside town for now. Elsewhere in Oregon, a blaze destroyed more than a dozen homes near Sprague River. And in Washington, the National Guard has been called out to help fight a fire north of Wenatchee.

The state has also received federal approval to use unmanned aircraft to assess wildfires. The Washington Department of Natural Resources says its 40-pound drone can fly in conditions that would typically ground a traditional aircraft.

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