A one-year-old child has died, while his parents remain in serious conditions in hospital, after the young family tried to flee a wild blaze.
Jake, 31, and Jamie Hyland, 26, along with their one-year-old son, Uriel, were visiting Okanogan, in rural Washington, when they were caught in the Cold Springs Fire on Monday (local time).
The young family abandoned their car before the blaze chased them to a river where they were rescued on Wednesday morning, according to a GoFundMe set up to support the family.
“It is a true miracle of God that they were found and are alive,” the page set up by a family member says.
“The whole experience they have been through is nothing short of completely horrific and traumatising. They need your prayers!”
The couple was transported by boat to an ambulance. A family member said the two suffered serious injuries.
Mr Hyland will need surgery on his arms, which were badly burned, though he also suffered burns on his face and chest, the family member said.
While Mr Hyland suffered burns to about 15 per cent of his body, his wife is “more critical” than him, the GoFundMe says, adding burns cover 30 to 40 per cent of her body.
Mrs Hyland has reportedly already undergone surgery, mainly on her upper-body.
“Their sweet, little boy Uri did not make it,” the GoFundMe says.
“Jake and Jamie are being transported to Harborview Medical Center. They have significant injuries and a long road ahead of them.”
In a press release, Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley said the family was trying to leave their property in Okanogan to escape the Cold Springs Fire. The family is from Renton, Washington, about 350km away from Okanogan.
Searchers found the couple along the banks of the Columbia River.
Okanogan County sheriff’s detectives and Colville Tribal Police detectives are investigating the child’s death.
The Cold Springs Fire, along with the nearby Pearl Hill Fire, have burned a combined 337,000 acres across several counties in the northeastern part of the state.
Nearly 100 fires are raging across the west of the country. Further south in California there are 28 wildfires which have burned nearly 2.3 million acres, leaving a massive cloud of smoke covering much of the state.
There is zero containment on the Cold Springs Fire ini Washington. Also burning in eastern Washington is a 100,000-acre wildfire near the town of Davenport. That fire is 5 per cent contained, authorities reported.
Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said thousands of people were impacted by the fires.
“As of this morning, we have 9 large fires,″ she tweeted.
“We had 58 new wildfire starts in the last 24 hours.”
As of this morning, we have 9 large fires. We had 58 new wildfire starts in the last 24 hours. Initial attack with our aircraft proved extremely successful. However, hurricane-level gusts and smoke-filled skies was a bad combination for initial attack in the air in many areas. pic.twitter.com/nMcFrXIwUS— Hilary Franz (@Hilary_FranzCPL) September 8, 2020
Ms Franz also released a statement on her social media accounts regarding the Hyland family, saying the death of their son was “unfathomable”.
“My heart breaks for the family of the child who perished in the Cold Springs fire. I am devastated. The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) family is devastated,” her statement read.
“The pain that family is going through is unfathomable.”
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