At least one home was destroyed and others were threatened as several wildfires sparked up in Washington state Tuesday.
A brush fire burned at least one property in eastern Washington and forced a handful of homes in a rural neighborhood to evacuate, said Patty Courson, a spokeswoman with the Walla Walla County Emergency Management Department. The blaze briefly forced residents to flee about 30 homes Monday.
Hot and dry conditions mixed with steady winds have helped spread the flames and threaten more homes, fire officials said. Low snowpack levels, record warmth and very dry conditions have also helped fuel blazes throughout the drought-stricken state.
Authorities are investigating what caused the fire to ignite after noon Monday and scorch nearly four square miles east of Walla Walla near Blue Creek and Klicker Mountain.
"It's a very dynamic fire, so it's zero percent contained. They haven't been able to get out in front of it," Courson said.
About 500 firefighters were tackling the blaze Tuesday, said Renae Crippen with the Blue Mountain Interagency Fire Center in La Grande, Oregon.
No injuries have been reported. However, a pilot who had been dumping water on the flames walked away from a crash landing Monday. He was checked out and refused further treatment, Courson said.
Federal investigators will determine what caused a mechanical failure on board, she said.
Another brush fire near the town of George also threatened 50 homes in central Washington and led to brief evacuations Monday. The blaze temporarily closed part of Interstate 90, a major east-west artery, in both directions because of the heavy smoke.
A trailer full of hay had burned on the road next to the interstate, leading the fire to ignite Sunday night, the Grant County sheriff's office said. It reignited Monday afternoon, but no injuries were reported.
Yet another brush fire about 25 miles northeast of Seattle briefly closed U.S. Highway 2 in both directions near Monroe late Monday afternoon. It is burning just west of State Route 9.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.