Fire spreads, destroys 12 houses on Yakama Reservation

WHITE SWAN — Dozens of firefighters battled a blaze fueled by strong winds on the Yakima Indian Reservation Saturday night that damaged at least 12 homes, authorities said.

The fire apparently started in one house and then spread in the unincorporated town of White Swan in central Washington with the help of 40 mph winds.

No residents were hurt but two firefighters were treated and released for minor injuries, Sgt. George Town of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press.

Some residents voluntarily evacuated and took shelter at the town’s ceremonial long house and high school.

Twelve to 20 homes had burned or were burning, but Town said he didn’t have details on the extent of damage to the one-story structures.

About 70 firefighters fought the blaze, which KIMA-TV reported was about 25 percent contained by late afternoon.

Town said hours later from his Yakima office that the fire was still burning but he didn’t have an updated containment figure. He said winds were expected to remain strong through the night.

“We were hoping for relief from Mother Nature but it doesn’t look like it right now,” said Town, the department’s search and rescue coordinator.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that one of the homes destroyed was owned by Rodney Martin.

“I got out front and tried to water the front of the house, and it overtook me,” the 45-year-old Martin told the paper.

The reservation is situated just south of Yakima.

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