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

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read