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caption: Burned vehicles are shown on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, after a fire that started Monday evening burned 275 acres, including multiple homes and forced evacuations in the rural Pierce County town of Graham. 
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Burned vehicles are shown on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, after a fire that started Monday evening burned 275 acres, including multiple homes and forced evacuations in the rural Pierce County town of Graham.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Photos: Wildfires burning near Tacoma suburbs

“In the last couple of days, we’ve had over 480,000 acres burned in the state of Washington,” said Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday afternoon in Sumner. “This is an extraordinary series of events we have suffered.”

Dozens of wildfires continue to burn across Washington state.

The Sumner Grade fire in the Bonney Lake area has burned about 800 acres. “We believe we've lost four homes right now,” said Dina Sutherland, with East Pierce County Fire and Rescue. “It's been a really tough time for our community.”

Fire is destroying entire towns in Washington and Oregon. But the devastation isn’t limited to east of the Cascades.

A fire that started Monday evening in the rural Pierce County town of Graham burned roughly 275 acres, including five homes and ten outbuildings. Fire swept through the neighborhood forcing people to flee in the night.

Darrell Herde, who’s retired, has lived on this one-acre rural lot for 30 years. He says the night of the fire the wind-whipped flames were 30 feet tall and the heat from the embers searing. “It’s like somebody taking a bucket of hot flames and throwing it right on you,” said Herde.

Herde escaped with the clothes on his back and his wallet. Nothing else. There was nothing the fire department could do.

caption: Darrell Herde
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Darrell Herde
Credit: Photo by Austin Jenkins

“I have almost 38 years of experience in Western Washington, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Fire Chief Pat Dale. He says he’s concerned these hot, dry conditions are becoming a new normal in Western Washington.