Wildfire reaches Kittitas County wind farm

WENATCHEE — A wildfire that has burned across 109 square miles of grass, sagebrush and timber in two central Washington counties churned to the southwest Wednesday, burning to the edge of a wind farm and forcing authorities to order a new round of evacuations.

Firefighters already faced extreme fire behavior, with dry fuels and high temperatures, and were on watch for gusty winds and the threat of lightning strikes from thunderstorms expected through Thursday.

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office ordered residents of about 75 scattered homes and cabins to evacuate, and several recreation areas were closed. The fast-moving Colockum Tarps Fire, which originated south of Wenatchee, burned to the north end of the Wild Horse Wind Farm, about 17 miles east of Ellensburg overlooking the Columbia River.

Firefighters made progress on stopping the fire’s spread, except in the southwest corner, fire spokesman Peter Frenzen said. In addition, thick smoke prevented air tankers and helicopters from dropping retardant and water on critical areas of extreme fire growth.

At least 370 firefighters were working to control the blaze, he said. By Wednesday night, it was 25 percent contained.

Due to the fire’s growth, Frenzen said fire managers also would establish a satellite fire camp in Kittitas County for firefighters to eat and rest each evening, to allow them to avoid driving to the main fire camp south of Wenatchee.

Near Goldendale, in south-central Washington, firefighters gained ground on a blaze that had closed U.S. Highway 97 for days.

The Mile Marker 28 Fire was 65 percent contained. The Washington Department of Transportation reopened the highway Wednesday, with pilot cars leading vehicles through the fire area.

Crews built a fire line around the flames that charred about 42 square miles near Satus Pass, about 15 miles northeast of Goldendale, fire spokesman Dam Omdal said.

Nearly 1,300 firefighters were mopping up hot spots and strengthening fire lines.

The cause of both fires remained under investigation.

More in Local News

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Aerospace workers adjust to changing industry

The number of Boeing workers dropped almost 10 percent since last year

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

A whole life ahead. Five-month-old Felix Shope lies in his stroller ready to go home from the Snohomish County Courthouse with his new mom and dad, Alicia and Josh Shope of Edmonds. A family down the hall tends to a child and are likely awaiting their own adoption proceedings. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
16 youngsters get the gift of home on National Adoption Day

A joyful day at county courthouse tempered with the great need for stable, loving homes.

Single fingerprint on robbery note leads to arrest

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in Lynnwood in August.

City Council OKs initial funding for Smith Avenue parking lot

The site of the former Smith Street Mill is being developed in anticipation of light rail.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Most Read