Firefighters gaining control of Goldendale blaze

GOLDENDALE — Firefighters are starting to gain control over a large wildfire burning near Goldendale, Wash., on top of Satus Pass, fire officials said Monday.

But a wildfire burning south of Wenatchee in the Colockum Pass area has burned three houses and several outbuildings since breaking out Saturday.

The fire that started Wednesday near Goldendale has grown to almost 32 square miles, and is now about 25 percent contained, said spokesman Randy Shepard of the interagency fire management team.

“Today’s weather continues to be favorable for firefighting. We made significant progress yesterday,” Shepard said Monday. “Within the next few days we’re confident we’ll have a line around the fire.”

The fire covered about 27 square miles on Sunday and has been growing to the east through rough terrain. It’s about 7 miles from the small town of Bickleton, but Shepard said fire officials do not expect the flames to get near the village.

Highway 97 is still closed between Goldendale and Toppenish and will remain closed as long as necessary. In addition to smoke and flames, fire retardant has made the roadway slippery, Shepard said.

About 1,200 people are fighting the fire. A few more homes have been added to the evacuation notices, but no structures have been destroyed. The fire threatens about 144 structures, including about 70 residences.

Meanwhile, the wildfire burning in grass, brush and timber south of Wenatchee in the Colockum Pass area has grown to about 39 square miles and is spreading toward a wind farm near Vantage.

Fire spokeswoman Karen Ripley reported on Monday that the fire has burned three homes and several outbuildings since breaking out Saturday. About 60 residences have been evacuated.

Fire officials were working on a plan to stop the fire at a ridge north of the Wild Horse wind farm, which was about 8 miles from the flames Monday afternoon. Ripley estimated the fire was at least two days away from that point.

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