The wildfires, fanned by stiff winds and fueled by parched lands, left some cities with little time to evacuate. In Phoenix, Ore., residents reported that they were unable to get back to their homes to retrieve pets as the fires moved along the Interstate 5 corridor, stoked by winds as high as 45 miles per hour.
As he looked over his still-smoldering city on Wednesday, Mayor Chris Luz estimated that the area might have lost up to 1,000 houses and apartment units. He said the downtown area was decimated, with many businesses lost, and fires continued to smolder.
Officials had not found anyone who died in the fire, but Mr. Luz worried that some people might not have been able to get out in time. “It’s just devastating,” he said.
Nearby, in the city of Talent, City Manager Sandra Spelliscy expressed a similar worry as she examined the scene at Mountain View Estates, a mobile home community for people 55 and older.
“Everything is completely gone,” Ms. Spelliscy said.
Ms. Spelliscy said residents in the city had little time to evacuate and were forced to leave belongings behind. The evacuation was complicated by traffic that had diverted off Interstate 5 as a result of the highway’s closure. But she said police officers and other crews worked to get people out of the city, so she was hopeful that everyone managed to escape in time.
Washington State officials also continued to battle wildfires on Wednesday, including one that forced evacuations from the city of Bonney Lake, just outside of Tacoma. Helicopters with buckets repeatedly collected water from a nearby lake to dump on the fire.
In Malden, residents were trying to figure out what the future would look like. With the town’s post office destroyed, only a blackened brick shell remaining, some residents wondered aloud where they would get their mail ballots for the November election. Officials said temporary mail service would be established in nearby Rosalia.