Some residents return home as crews work to contain wildfires

DRYDEN – Residents of about 18 homes near here were allowed to return home Wednesday after they were evacuated due to a wildfire, but 24 other homes remained evacuated and dozens of other residents were on evacuation alert.

The Fischer fire, about 20 miles northwest of Wenatchee, had grown to about 850 acres by Wednesday evening, said fire information officer Stefani O’Connor. The fire started Sunday evening and was believed to have been caused by humans, although the exact cause remained under investigation.

The fire, which burned actively within its perimeter Wednesday, was about 25 percent contained, she said.

One house was evacuated and a dozen others were put on notice in the Yakima area as the Mud Lake fire seven miles northwest of Naches doubled in size, to 2,600 acres, said Jim Kohl of Yakima County Fire District No. 6.

Local firefighters left Wednesday night to assist in the Mud Lake fire, fire officials said.

Three brush trucks and a water tender from Getchell, Bryant, Gold Bar and Lake Roesiger were sent and would be driving all night to get there. Eight Snohomish County firefighters were among those who left. It was unclear how long they would be gone, said Chief Travis Hots, of Snohomish County Fire District 22.

State Highway 410 was closed for several hours Wednesday afternoon as the Mud Lake fire burned down a hill to the roadside, but the highway was later reopened, Kohl said.

“They pretty well thought they had it this morning until it blew up on them,” he said. That fire was believed to have been started by a downed power line on Monday.

“This will be a good reminder for folks to be careful because the fire danger is so high and local resources have been stretched thin because of fires in eastern Washington,” Hots said.

No structures have burned in the state’s active wildfires.

In the Fischer fire, 20 homes remained evacuated in Williams Canyon and another four in Jude Canyon while nearly 70 homes in Ollala Canyon were put on evacuation alert, O’Connor said.

Residents of 18 homes in Derby Canyon were allowed to return Wednesday.

About 400 firefighters were assigned to the fire, which was burning on private, state and national forest land.

Fire crews reported a new fire in the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests west of Winthrop in far north-central Washington.

The Mebee fire, which started Tuesday, was estimated at 100 acres and was burning in heavy standing timber about a half-mile north of the North Cascades Highway, several miles west of Rainy Pass. The highway remained open.

Near Lake Chelan, firefighters continued to monitor a complex of three fires that has been burning for weeks. The Pot Peak-Sisi Ridge complex remained at 46,970 acres and was 85 percent contained.

About 450 firefighters were assigned to the three fires.

All three fires in the complex were started by lightning. The cost of fighting the three fires stands at more than $19 million.

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