Updated 09:43 PM EDT, Mon, Jul 13, 2020

Washington State Wildfire Update: Costs Estimated at over $50 Million

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The estimated costs for combating the current wildfires in Washington, including one that is now the biggest fire in state history, have now exceeded $50 million. The approximately 400-square-mile wildfire in the state's north-central region, combined with dozens of other fires also burning elsewhere in Washington, have amounted to a devastating toll, both physically and fiscally. 

Komo News reports that close to half of the over $50 million already incurred by the recent wildfires comes from what is now the largest fire on record for Washington, the Carlton Complex fire, located in and around the state's north-central region. The Carlton fire is estimated to have caused approximately $23.3 million in damages by itself. 

It should also be noted that none of these financial figures take into account damages to property or to state infrastructure. The Carlton Complex fire has consumed nearly 300 homes as well as caused severe damage to the Methow Valley power grid. 

At approximately 400 square miles burned, the Carlton fire has already eclipsed the 1902 Yacolt Burn. That fire claimed the lives of 38 people and destroyed nearly 373 square miles in the state's southwest region.

The Carlton Complex is reported to have been caused by a lightning strike, and to have been responsible for indirectly killing a man that apparently suffered a heart attack while attempting to protect his land from the blaze. 

While the Carlton fire is still burning amidst Washington's heat wave, additional "major flare-ups" have not been reported at this time. 

Alan Hoffmeister is one of the head officials handling the Carlton Complex fire incident and he stated regarding the state of the blaze, "We're seeing more and more [plumes of] smoke popped up but nothing to get terribly concerned about yet." 

Washington isn't alone in the Pacific Northwest as it battles raging wildfires. Oregon is actually home to the nation's current largest wildfire, the 618-square-mile Buzzard Complex fire dwarfs Washington's Carlton fire, and is reportedly around 95% contained as of Sunday. 

Elsewhere in Oregon, the Ochoco Complex saw containment figures surge from 69% to 80% on Sunday. That complex is made of four fires, which are east of Prinville and have consumed 10,000 acres earch. Also, the Bridge 99 complex fire reportedly 74% contained.

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