Central Washington fire 40% contained

CLE ELUM — Many residents who had to flee from a central Washington wildfire were allowed back into the evacuation area Friday, not knowing what they’d find.

“Some people will find their homes there, and others will find homes damaged or even lost,” said Mick Mueller, a spokesman at the fire command center. “It’s a big day for folks.”

The residents are returning to the south and east sides of the 35-square-mile burn zone.

“The folks will have to be working among fellers dropping hazardous trees and utility crews working to get the power back on in there,” Mueller said. “And firefighters are still working in there trying to put out hot spots.”

About 900 firefighters with eight helicopters continue building a line around the Taylor Bridge Fire, which broke out Monday at a bridge construction project and exploded through dry grass, brush and trees.

Authorities said Friday the latest damage estimate was 48 residential properties and about 15 other structures.

The fire burned on the north side of I-90 about 75 miles east of Seattle. More than 400 people evacuated.

One firefighter was sent home to recover from minor facial burns, but no other injuries have been reported. The 22,700-acre fire was 40 percent contained late Friday.

If conditions remain relatively calm, firefighters hope to have the fire contained Sunday, although it may smoke and smolder for days longer.

Firefighters also made progress at a wildfire near Grand Coulee Dam that scorched about 12 square miles. It broke out Tuesday evening near the community of Elmer City and burned two outbuildings and threatened several homes. It was 70 percent contained by late Thursday, Colville tribal spokeswoman Kathy Moses said.

The firefighting progress depends on the weather, and the forecast is not favorable.

The National Weather Service has issued a red-flag warning for high wildfire danger through Saturday night on the east side of the Cascades. In addition to the hot, dry conditions, there’s a chance for dry thunderstorms Saturday evening with lightning that could start more fires.

“We need to get as much progress as we can, given the red-flag warning,” Mueller said. “We’re kind of on edge about that.”

More in Local News

Police presence returns to Edmonds School District

Jacob Hubby is set to walk the halls of Meadowdale High School as a school resource officer.

Mukilteo crabber missing; his boat was found at Hat Island

Frank Urbick set out Thursday morning but did not return.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Suspected escort charged with felony assault, robbery

She allegedly told police she shot the man in the head “because he was performing (a sex act) wrong.”

Lives were on the line

After an estimated 350K emergency calls over 35 years, dispatcher Steve Williams is set to retire.

Celebrating the origins of Christmas

LDS church holds annual nativity festival featuring more than 600 sets.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Trooper’s car struck when he was arresting man for DUI

She drove away but was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Most Read