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US Wildfires Turn Deadly

  • VOA News

A wildfire burns behind a home on Twisp River Road, Aug. 20, 2015 in Twisp, Wash.

A wildfire burns behind a home on Twisp River Road, Aug. 20, 2015 in Twisp, Wash.

Three U.S. Forest Service firefighters were killed and four others injured while battling a wildfire in Washington state.

Authorities said the firefighters were overcome by flames Wednesday after their vehicle crashed near the town of Twisp, in the north-central part of the state.

A local law enforcement official described the fire as "a hellstorm."

About 1,500 residents of Twisp and two other nearby towns were ordered to evacuate.

"My heart breaks over the loss of the life," Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said in a written statement.

NASA's Terra satellite shows a blanket of smoke from several raging fires in western and central Washington state, Aug. 17.

NASA's Terra satellite shows a blanket of smoke from several raging fires in western and central Washington state, Aug. 17.

Inslee asked the federal government to declare a state of emergency, which would provide more resources to help battle dozens of blazes.

He said the fires destroyed 50 homes and 60 other buildings, and consumed more than 95,000 hectares of land across the state.

The U.S. National Weather Service issued a "red-flag" warning for the eastern part of Washington state through Friday, with strong winds up to 72 kph and thunderstorms expected.

The fires in Washington state are some of the nearly 100 large wildfires burning across the western United States, including California, Idaho, Montana and Oregon, fueled by a combination of drought and heat.

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