A massive natural gas explosion has turned an empty lot in the remote and rural town of Dalles into a firestorm.
The blast, which blew a hole in the ground and sent debris cascading into nearby woods, has left residents stranded and at risk of homes and businesses being destroyed.
At least two people have died, according to local authorities.
But despite the blaze being “unstoppably dangerous” for residents, the Department of Homeland Security has issued an emergency evacuation order for Dallessas residents.
Officials told local news station KATU that there is no information about injuries.
The Dallesses National Forest Authority said on Twitter that the town has been evacuated and that it is not taking any sheltering orders.
Dalles residents have reported hearing explosions in the night and seeing flames engulfing a nearby home.
The town is located about 1,500 miles (1,920 kilometres) northwest of Anchorage, Alaska.
Residents have been allowed to return to their homes, but the fire is expected to continue to burn for weeks.
Authorities have also said that the fire was started by a gas leak and that the cause is unknown.
“This is an incredible fire,” local fire chief John McManus told the Associated Press news agency.
“It has no known cause,” he said.
“We’re looking at it as a gas explosion.”