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More than 50 structures destroyed in Chelan fires; evacuations continue

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CHELAN, Wash. -- Crews continue their battle Monday with several large fires threatening homes in the Chelan area in central Washington.

The Chelan Complex fires, burning in several areas around Lake Chelan, have charred more than 56,000 acres. The blazes have destroyed more than 50 structures, forced about 1,500 residents to flee and scorched more than 155 square miles. Scores of homes remain threatened.

Fire crews say flames continue to be active, burning quickly through brush, grass and timber. The fire is currently zero percent contained, officials said.

Several homes, commercial buildings, and even Chelan's airport remain in the path of the fires, and several evacuations are in effect. Fire incident spokesman Wayne Patterson says air tankers have established lines to keep the flames from reaching downtown Chelan, a popular central Washington resort town. He says more fire crews, including from the Washington National Guard, are being mobilized.

Nearly 1,000 firefighters have been deployed around the area to help fight the Chelan Complex Fires, the First Creek Fire, and the Wolverine Fire.

Improved weather helped firefighters Sunday, but hot temperatures and low humidity are expected this week.

Utility crews worked throughout the night Saturday to restore power to more than 7,000 people in the Chelan Valley, after significant equipment damage knocked out power in several towns. Only 600 customers in Chelan Valley remained without power Sunday night. Almost 100 fire poles have been damaged in the fires, officials said.

New video shared on Facebook shows some of the devastation in the Lake Chelan area -- homes along the lake destroyed.

Red Cross shelters are open at the following locations:
• Entiat Valley Community Resource Center (2084 Entiat Way, Entiat, WA)
• Sterling Intermediate School (600 N. James, East Wenatchee, WA)
• Brewster High School (503 S. 7th St., Brewster, WA)
• Gess Elementary School (405 E. Lincoln Way, Chewelah, WA)
• Columbia School (4961b Hunters Shop Rd., Hunters, WA)
• Republic Elementary School (30306 Hwy 20 E, Republic, WA)

Officials reminded individuals not to fly drones near the fire area, as they could hamper firefighting efforts.

A fire relief fund was established for victims of the Chelan Valley Wildfires. For more on how to help those who have lost homes in the fires, click here. 

Homes were also threatened in Idaho, Oregon and California.