MALDEN — A wildfire decimated the small town of Malden on Monday, destroying an estimated 70% of homes in the northern Whitman County community and leaving behind scorched piles of rubble.
Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers said the Babb Road Fire started in Spokane County before spreading across the county line and raging through Malden and the neighboring town of Pine City. The fire quickly consumed thousands of acres of Palouse wheat fields, forcing Malden’s roughly 200 residents to evacuate.
“When we got information that fire started, there were 40 or 50 mph winds,” Myers said. “By the time we had law enforcement in town to evacuate, the fire was at city limits, and within 20 minutes, it was consuming homes.”