Residents of a small Washington town and a nearby hospital are evacuating as wildfires close in on their homes.
County Sheriff Frank Rogers reported there have been no injuries so far, but some 40 homes have been destroyed.
"The whole town was evacuated," Rogers said in a telephone interview as he drove between Brewster and Pateros.
"It was a chaotic mess, but we got everybody on the highway," he said. "Hold on, I've gotta go through a little bit of fire."
Sections of U.S. Highway 97 between Brewster and Pateros were closed because the fire had jumped and was burning along the Columbia River.
Fire officials have no estimate of how many houses have burned in the county.
"You can just look at the fire coming down that hill. Probably going to wipe out all these houses right here," one evacuee Lynn Anders said. "Mine is right up there and it's under attack, too. So I had to leave. So I`m just trying to get these kids out of here."
Tim Germaine, another evacuee, said, "We got all the family and the dogs out and you know a house can be replaced."
"It's really something," he continued. "Its way worse now. But last night it really looked like the cauldron of hell. You can see flames everywhere you looked," Germaine said.
The sheriff said this is the worst fire he's ever seen in his 30 years on the force.