Then, on Saturday afternoon, August 20, all hell broke loose. Hurricane-force winds, unlike anything seen since, roared across the rolling Palouse country of eastern Washington and on into Idaho and Montana forests so dry they crackled underfoot In a matter of hours, fires became firestorms, and trees by the millions became exploding candles. Millions more, sucked from the ground, roots and all, became flying blowtorches. It was dark by four in the afternoon, save for wind-powered fireballs that rolled from ridgetop to ridgetop at seventy miles an hour. They leaped canyons a half-mile wide in one fluid motion. Entire mountainsides ignited in an instant.