PATEROS, Washington (NBC) – The wildfires of north central Washington State have forced authorities to cut off access to the area.
“It looks like we’re trapped because they just closed the road that we came on,” said a local fleeing resident.
Thousands were forced out of their homes.
“Where have you been staying?” asks a reporter at the scene.
“At the Walmart parking lot,” said a resident.
“You’ve just been staying in your car at the Walmart parking lot?”
The entire town of Pateros, Washington, where about 650 people live along the Columbia River, has been evacuated.
“We had the fire coming across the river from us,” said a Pateros resident.
Overnight the number of homes destroyed grew to more than 100.
The area blackened by the blaze grew from 28 to some 300 square miles.
“It was amazing. It was terrifying and amazing. I couldn’t imagine being within 100 feet of those flames. As big as they were from here, you know, those flames had to huge, huge!” reflects a fleeing resident.
The worsening wildfires have prompted governors in both Washington and Oregon to declare states of emergency.
That means they can call in the National Guard to help fight them.