Horses seen fleeing wildfires as others put down after fatal burns

Horses seen fleeing wildfires as others put down after fatal burns
Several wildfires burning near town of Nespelem on the Colville Indian Reservation, Washington

Horses were seen fleeing wildfires as reports emerged of others being put down due to suffering severe burns amid blazes in Washington state.

Several wildfires are burning near the town of Nespelem on the Colville Indian Reservation. It is yet unclear how many acres have been destroyed by the fires which are believed to have been started by lightning strikes in the area on Monday night.

The horses were seen bolting along a highway near Nespelem by Destiny Richards, a reporter for Kxly4news, who later posted an update to reassure viewers that the horses had been safely recaptured.

Other animals were not so fortunate. The fires meant some horses, livestock, and wildlife had to be put down due to the severity of their burn injuries. Others died in the flames, Krem reported.

There have been no reports of people injured or killed in the fires but hundreds of people have been evacuated from the area, around 250 miles east of Seattle. There are power outages in the area and phone lines are down.

Some 67 large wildfires are raging in 12 states across the American West, burning nearly 918,000 acres (1,434 square miles), the National Interagency Fire Centre reported.

New large fires were reported in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon, and more than 14,200 wildland firefighters and other personnel are battling the blazes.

The fires come as the West is blasted with its second, life-threatening heatwave in a matter of weeks. A mega-drought, also being exacerbated by the climate crisis, is making fire conditions even more dangerous.

The largest, the Bootleg Fire, is burning in southwestern Oregon. It doubled in size, and then doubled again, this weekend and is threatening 2,000 homes along with California’s power supply.

The fire impacted three transmission lines that carry electricity to California. ISO, the state’s power grid, issued an alert on Monday asking Californians to conserve power and keep the grid stable.

Lightning strikes ignited fires named the Beckwourth Complex in northern California – it remains less than 25 per cent contained. The flames have consumed 140 square miles of land, including in Plumas National Forest.

The complex includes the Sugar Fire, which exploded across the forest, which suffered badly in 2020, and is the largest of the season so far. By Tuesday, the Beckwourth Complex was 46 per cent contained, the US Forest Service reported, but homes had been destroyed in Doyle, a rural town close to the Nevada state line.