Wildfires drive residents from homes in Washington state and Canada

 (CNN) -- A spate of wildfires is driving hundreds of people from their homes in Washington state and across the border in Canada, officials said.

Washington authorities say the fires have burned at least 24,000 acres in the state. This is not an extremely large area for a wildfire, but the flames have encroached on towns.

Pateros on the Columbia River was hit particularly hard, when flames came over a hill and spilled into the town's valley on Thursday, said Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers.

The entire town of roughly 650 people was evacuated, he said, and most of the homes caught fire.

"We were sitting down below the hill and the wind shifted, and within half of an hour the backside of the town was burning," Rogers said.

The winds are fanning flames in many parts of the county, which borders British Columbia, Canada, he said.

In the nearby town of Brewster, the hospital was evacuated, he said.

The town of Leavenworth appeals to tourists with its Bavarian theme before the backdrop of alpine peaks.

Gustav's Beer Garden and Grill on Wednesday sent workers home so they'd evacuate.

"It's black outside," manager Naomi Roberts said. "The sun is shining through the holes smoke."

But she has not shut the restaurant. "Campers are getting evacuated. The highway to Seattle is shutdown. So they are coming to us," she said.

Across the Canadian border, authorities evacuated 2,500 residents from 1,100 homes in West Kelowna, according to a local emergency management agency.

But no homes had been lost there.


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