The National Weather Service is warning of the possibility of “the worst wildfire season on record” with more than 50 wildfires across the western U.S. as temperatures rise and forests across the state remain under threat from a deadly drought.
The National Weather Services (NWS) on Wednesday said that wildfires in eastern Washington State have grown in size and range to nearly 200,000 acres.
That’s up from about 150,000 as recently as late January, the NWS said.
“While many of the fires are now localized, we are seeing increased fire activity in some areas,” said Chris Gammage, a NWS senior wildfire scientist.
“The wildfire season will continue to be exceptionally severe in western Washington.”
Firefighters in northern Oregon are battling to save the state from a wildfire that’s threatening the state’s largest city.
The Fire Department has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the city of Portland and is working to secure more firefighters from neighboring areas.
Officials in southern Washington are working to evacuate residents from their homes.
Officials are urging residents to take precautions including avoiding brush and other brush.
“I’m worried about my life, my health, my family, my dogs and cats,” said Lisa DeCoster, a resident of the neighborhood of Lolo.
The NWS has said the fires could continue to grow and cause billions of dollars in damage.
The agency expects more fires to burn across the U.K. and Europe as well.