Washington Town Has 80% Of Homes, Businesses Destroyed By Wildfire, Search For Possible Victims Ongoing

A wildfire recently destroyed a majority of the homes and businesses in the town of Malden, Washington, and the search for victims continues.

In a press release sent to Newsweek via email, the Whitman County Sheriff's Office in Washington, wrote that "Within hours, many of the homes in Malden and the nearby town of Pine City were on fire or completely destroyed."

"In the town of Malden, the Fire Station, Post Office, City Hall/Library and other prominent buildings have been completely burned to the ground. It is estimated that 80 percent of the homes and structures in Malden were destroyed," the release added. "Whitman County Emergency Management, the Sheriff's Office and Fire Incident Command are working on a plan to take inventory of the damage and to account for residents who were in their homes or in the communities when the firestorm hit."

No casulties or injures have been reported by local authorities.

The press release also included a statement from Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers, who said, "The scale of this disaster really can't be expressed in words."

"The fire will be extinguished but a community has been changed for a lifetime. I just hope we don't find the fire took more than homes and buildings. I pray everyone got out in time," Myers said.

According to the release, at around 11 a.m. local time on Monday, "fire crews, EMS and law enforcement from around the county responded to a large fire in Colfax, WA which consumed several hillsides and threatening structures before consuming 2 homes."

The fire approached Malden an hour later on Babbs Road, "fueled by extremely high winds, standing timber and dry fields," the release said.

Wildfire
Flames incinerate a forest as the Creek Fire rapidly expands on September 8, 2020 near Shaver Lake, California David McNew/Getty

While speaking to The Spokane Review, Myers said that winds were gusting between 40 and 50 mph when the city was informed of the fire.

"By the time we had law enforcement in town to evacuate, the fire was at city limits, and within 20 minutes, it was consuming homes," Myers said according to the Review, adding that the fire forced almost all of the town's residents to evacuate.

Kyle Simchuk of 4 News Now in Spokane posted two pictures of the town on Twitter, showing houses burnt and smoke clouds filling the air.

"Whitman County Sheriff estimated 70-80% of homes in Malden are destroyed, burned down to the foundation. Cars and properties are still smoldering," Simchuk wrote as the caption.

Whitman County Sheriff estimated 70-80% of homes in Malden are destroyed, burned down to the foundation. Cars and properties are still smoldering. #4newsnow pic.twitter.com/92rzdh4CWa

— Kyle Simchuk (@KyleKXLY) September 8, 2020

According to the release, the Whitman County Commissioners are expected to declare a State of Emergency on Wednesday morning.

The wildfires in Washington comes as high temperatures and dry conditions cause several other fires across the west coast.

In addition to the Malden fire, several other fires are currently ablaze across Washington, including the Colfax Fire, the Whitney Fire and the Cold Spring and Pearl Hill fires.

Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, wrote in a recent tweet "almost 300,000 acres in Washington have burned."

"Thousands of homes are without power. Many families have had to evacuate their homes and many homes have been lost. We're still seeing new fire starts in every corner of the state," Franz added.

Today alone, almost 300,000 acres in Washington have burned. Thousands of homes are without power. Many families have had to evacuate their homes and many homes have been lost. We're still seeing new fire starts in every corner of the state. #WaWILDFIRE

🎥credit: Clarence Jones pic.twitter.com/MofYWeuQ62

— Hilary Franz (@Hilary_FranzCPL) September 8, 2020