The small farming town of Malden (Washington state) was devastated as a wildfire swept through the area on Monday, September 7. Whitman County Sheriff's office reported that by Tuesday, September 8, around eighty percent of the town's structures had been destroyed, including the fire station, post office, City Hall, library, and most of its homes. All of the roughly 200 residents of the community were evacuated hours before the fire swept through and no casualties have been reported. Homes were also destroyed in nearby Pine City. At least eighty wildfires are burning across Washington state, at least nine of which are large fires, burning nearly 300,000 acres (121,406 hectares) and leaving thousands of homes without power. Red flag warnings remain in place for much of the state and many families have had to evacuate their homes. Dry and windy conditions over the next few days are expected to continue to fuel the flames.
Further spread of the fires is likely in the near term. An emergency response presence and localized transportation disruptions, namely road closures, should be anticipated in the affected areas.
Those in the vicinity of the fires are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the area, anticipate possible transport disruption due to firefighting operations and road closures, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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