WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 20, 2012, 03:05 PM

Wildfires Rage Along the West Coast

Eight western states are besieged by wildfires this morning. Up and down the west coast, into Idaho and Utah. Thousands of people have been evacuated, there are states of emergency and roads are closed as firefighters try desperately to save homes and contain 41 major fires.

By: Matt Kozar, ABC News

Eight western states are besieged by wildfires this morning. Up and down the west coast, into Idaho and Utah. Thousands of people have been evacuated, there are states of emergency and roads are closed as firefighters try desperately to save homes and contain 41 major fires.

More than ten thousand square miles have burned so far this year. That's an area larger than the state of Vermont.

Zachary Pritchard, California Evacuee: "There were flames on the road on either sides and I looked up and everything was black."

Zachary Pritchard lost his home and narrowly escaped a raging inferno on his ATV.

Pritchard: "It was like I was in a black box and I just drove through it and I couldn't breathe."

170 miles north of Sacramento fire is ripping through California's thick forests threatening 3,000 homes and businesses. The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center in Redding. The cause of the fire is still being investigated but officials say it started after a series of lightning strikes.

Daniel Berlant, California Fire Spokesman: "We're going to be going direct at this fire using our aircraft, using our hand crews, our bulldozers, everything we can to slow down and put this fire out."

In Idaho, more than one thousand firefighters are trying to save the scenic town of Featherville after a raging blaze consumed 88,000 acres forcing hundreds of families to pack up and leave.

In neighboring Washington state the situation is improving. Better weather has helped firefighters gain ground on a blaze that's scorched homes east of Seattle.

Tags: