10/30/2014

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Evacuations, road closures as wildfires spread in Central Wash.

Evacuations, road closures as wildfires spread in Central Wash.
Two state highways are closed and more than 200 homes are under evacuation orders Saturday as at least three wildfires continue to spread ominously across Central Washington.

Nearly 1,200 fighters are battling the largest of the wildfires, which has grown to about 14 square miles near Goldendale. The fire along the top of Satus Pass is threatening about 180 homes, but none have been damaged.

The Klickitat County Sheriff's Office has issued evacuation notices for the homes.

Mark Grassel of the interagency fire management team says the fire is only 3 percent contained and most of Highway 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish remains closed. The fire grew on Friday to the south and the east.

Another fire in Chelan County that started Saturday has destroyed two buildings and forced the evacuation of about 60 homes and cabins along the Columbia River near Quincy, officials said.

A Chelan County Sheriff's Office spokesperson says the fire is burning on about 2,000 acres at Colockum Pass.

So far, two helicopters, a small plane and an air tanker have been dispatched to fight that blaze, southeast of Wenatchee and upstream from the Crescent Bar Recreation Area on the Columbia River.

In addition, about 100 firefighters from Chelan and Douglas counties as well as the Washington Department of Natural Resources are working on the fire. No injuries have been reported.

One of the structures destroyed in the fire was a double-wide mobile home. There was no information on the other structure.

Several more structures are threatened, including some homes that are being protected by fire trucks. The blaze has burned right up to the yards outside some of those homes.

Chelan County Fire Chief Bill Neckels says high temperatures and 30 mph winds are making the effort to fight this fire and protecting homes and cabins in the area more difficult.

A third smaller fire, covering about 50 to 100 acres, has closed Highway 28 west of Soap Lake.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the fire danger in much of Eastern Washington, including Goldendale, Tri-Cities, Yakima, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Moses Lake.
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