Historic wildfires rage across Pacific Northwest: Washington town devastated; helicopters rescuing stranded California hikers

Historic fires in Waashington and CaliforniaHelicopter rescues were underway near Fresno and California's largest utility was cutting off power to more than 170,000 customers Tuesday as intense heat, dry conditions and high winds fueled historic wildfires across the Pacific Northwest.

Almost 1,000 fires have raged in the state since Aug. 15, many sparked by lightning strikes. California already has set a grim record with more than 2 million acres burned this year – more than 3,000 square miles – with several weeks remaining in the heart of fire season.

Hurricane-force winds and high temperatures energized wildfires across Oregon and Washington state as well. Almost 250,000 homes and businesses in the two states were without power, and the small town of Malden, in Washington's Whitman County, was devastated by flames.