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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

September 5, 2012 at 9:56 PM

New wildfires burn near Columbia River Gorge

Two fast-moving new wildfires burning north of White Salmon, Wash., in the Columbia River Gorge burned across more than 2 square miles — or 1,500 acres — on Wednesday, threatening at least 30 homes.

The Klickitat County sheriff’s office told residents of those 30 homes to evacuate, Debbie Robinson, a state Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman, said Wednesday night. Residents of another 400 homes were warned they might need to evacuate, she said.

State Highway 141 in the area was temporarily closed.

Fire crews fought the flames from the ground and with airborne fire retardant drops.

So far, no structures have been burned by what’s being called the Highway 141 Fire, which was burning in tall, dry grass and timber.

On Wednesday evening, State Patrol Chief John Batiste authorized the mobilization of state firefighting help to assist local firefighters. He acted at the request of Klickitat County Fire District 3.

The wildfires that started early Wednesday afternoon were burning in terrain that ranges from very steep to rolling, Robinson said. Four fire starts were reported initially but two were quickly extinguished, she added.

The cause is under investigation.

The fires were burning about 60 miles east of Vancouver in south-central Washington.

Last month, the Taylor Bridge Fire east of Cle Elum in central Washington burned more than 36 square miles, or 23,500 acres. Authorities said 61 homes and 35 outbuildings were destroyed.

That fire was declared completely contained at the end of August.

Comments | Topics: Columbia River Gorge, Debbie Robinson, wildfire

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