Firefighters battle blazes across state

GOLDENDALE — A wildfire burning near Satus Pass in south-central Washington now threatens about 180 homes, while east of Seattle, crews quickly got the upper hand Friday on a small wildfire just outside of North Bend, fire spokesmen said.

The new fire on Mount Si, a popular hiking destination, was 50 percent contained by 5 p.m. Friday and had burned about 2 acres.

Local fire engine companies responded before handing the Mount Si fire over to the state Department of Natural Resources, Eastside Fire &Rescue Deputy Chief Bud Backer told KOMO-TV. A DNR helicopter dropped water on the blaze and crews were able to create a hose line around it. Mop-up operations were planned Saturday.

The fire near Goldendale has burned about 7 square miles along the top of Satus Pass. Some 800 firefighters were working there, fire spokesman Mark Grassel said Friday.

No homes have been lost, but the Klickitat County sheriff’s office expanded its most urgent evacuation notice to cover 180 homes, Grassel said.

The fire was just 3 percent contained. Four helicopters dropped water on it Friday.

Most of U.S. 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish remained closed due to smoke and the danger of debris rolling off steep hillsides.

Fire conditions Friday included temperatures in the mid-80s, low humidity and erratic winds, Grassel said.

The National Weather Service 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.

Firefighters had better luck with a fire that broke out Thursday in Okanogan County near Twisp. A quick response with seven engines and a helicopter had it contained Friday at just 5 acres, said fire spokeswoman Janet Pearce.

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