Officials say devastating Chelan wildfires around 30 percent contained

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CHELAN, Wash. -- Four days after fire took hold of the city of Chelan, people are sorting through the wreckage.

More crews, including some from the Washington National Guard, were being mobilized as several large fires threatened homes in the Chelan area in central Washington.

Officials released the latest numbers on the destruction Tuesday morning. The blazes have destroyed 35 residential homes and 21 outbuildings, forced about 1,500 residents to flee and scorched more than 155 square miles. Scores of homes remain threatened.

The fire, which has burned about 63,000 acres, is rougly 30 percent contained.

Fire incident spokesman Wayne Patterson says air tankers established lines to keep the flames from reaching downtown Chelan, a popular resort town. Helicopters have been dipping into Lake Chelan to pull up water to battle blazes north of the lake. Rob Allen, deputy incident commander for the Chelan fires, says competition for firefighting resources is "fierce."

Some folks, like Paul Smythe who lives off of Main Street, lost everything.

“I put everything I could in my car got the animals and we bailed out. In the morning probably about 5 o'clock it just like Star Wars going on outside,” Smythe told Q13 FOX News on Monday.

But unlike a movie, the damage is real. Twenty years of memories scorched to ashes.

“I drove by and everything was just gone,” Paul managed through tears. “I'm trying not to think of all the stuff I lost. Not only dos that house go out cabins that haven been in the family since 1935 are gone too.”

Paul's neighbor Judy lives just feet away.

“Mine was saved and his was lost. And he lost everything,” Judy Miller said from her front yard. “There's memories that he's got that he'll never have again because they went up in the flames.”

A pair of melted chairs are what's left of Judy's private retreat, where she would sit and watch her beloved lake.

“Now it's just this clear path of devastation it's just unbelievable,” Judy added.

10 foot flames stole Judy's sanctuary, but they robbed Paul's family of everything: history and shelter.

Right now Paul is living out of his car but he’s grateful to be living at all.

“I'm happy that nobody got killed in all of this. It was bad,” Paul added.

The fire is still burning in the mountains throughout town. There have been flames seen as far as 40 miles away.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.