DISASTERS

The Latest: Okanogan wildfires grow by 100 square miles; easing winds could help crews

  • A tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a hillside above a neighborhood on Lake Chelan in north-central Washington state as a wildfire blazes, Friday morning, Aug. 21, 2015. Massive wildfires expanding across the arid state have so overtaxed firefighters that the federal government declared an emergency and state officials took the unprecedented step of seeking volunteers to help fight the flames. (Genna Martin/The Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

    A tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a hillside above a neighborhood on Lake Chelan in north-central Washington state as a wildfire blazes, Friday morning, Aug. 21, 2015. Massive wildfires expanding across the arid state have so overtaxed firefighters that the federal government declared an emergency and state officials took the unprecedented step of seeking volunteers to help fight the flames. (Genna Martin/The Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

  • Novice firefighters Nathan Wilson, left, Ryan Christensen and Jesse Squibb, of Spokane Valley (Wash.) Tech work to put out a hot spot remaining from a wildfire Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Tonasket, Wash. Out-of-control blazes in north-central Washington have destroyed buildings, but the situation is so chaotic that authorities have "no idea" how many homes may have been lost. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

    Novice firefighters Nathan Wilson, left, Ryan Christensen and Jesse Squibb, of Spokane Valley (Wash.) Tech work to put out a hot spot remaining from a wildfire Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Tonasket, Wash. Out-of-control blazes in north-central Washington have destroyed buildings, but the situation is so chaotic that authorities have "no idea" how many homes may have been lost. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)  (The Associated Press)

  • A spotter plane leaves a test line of smoke in front of a massive cloud of smoke as it leads a larger fire retardant tanker plane over a wildfire burning in Twisp, Wash. Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, during an afternoon flare-up. Massive wildfires expanding across the arid state have so overtaxed firefighters that the federal government declared an emergency and state officials took the unprecedented step of seeking volunteers to help fight the flames. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

    A spotter plane leaves a test line of smoke in front of a massive cloud of smoke as it leads a larger fire retardant tanker plane over a wildfire burning in Twisp, Wash. Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, during an afternoon flare-up. Massive wildfires expanding across the arid state have so overtaxed firefighters that the federal government declared an emergency and state officials took the unprecedented step of seeking volunteers to help fight the flames. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)  (The Associated Press)

The latest on wildfires in Washington state, including those that killed three firefighters (all times local):

9 a.m.

A series of wildfires in north-central Washington that left three firefighters dead grew by more than 100 square miles, but officials hope easing winds forecast for Saturday will allow them to gain the upper hand.

The Okanogan Complex of wildfires was measured at 355 square miles Saturday, about 100 miles larger than the day before, after making some big runs Friday, fire spokesman Rick Isaacson said.

Thousands of people remained under evacuation orders as strong winds drove flames across parched ground. Resources were so strained that Saturday, fire officials planned to provide basic fire training to about 200 volunteers who have machinery like backhoes and bulldozers so they can use them to help dig fire lines.

The overall situation was too chaotic to even track how many homes had burned — though officials hoped to make progress on that front Saturday.

"We can say we know structures have been lost, but we have no count," Isaacson said.

Three firefighters — Tom Zbyszewski, Richard Wheeler and Andrew Zajac — died Wednesday when flames consumed their crashed vehicle as they tried to escape this fire. Four others were injured in the canyon, one critically.