UPDATE, 6:25 p.m. | The fire has spread to 15 acres, the Associated Press reports.
The Associated Press
SHELTON, Mason County – A Mason County sheriff’s spokesman says a new Western Washington wildfire burning near a lake is threatening 20-25 homes and firefighters from two counties are responding.
Chief Deputy Dean Byrd tells KOMO-TV that the 5-acre fire is “fairly close” to the homes near Rainbow Lake and deputies are alerting those residents to the danger.
About 40 firefighters and a helicopter fought the blaze late Thursday afternoon. Byrd says all fire districts in his county are responding, as well as firefighters from nearby Thurston County.
The fire is growing in tinder dry conditions and he says it’s “going to be a challenge,” Byrd said.
The fire started this afternoon and is sending up a huge plume of smoke. The cause is not yet known.
The National Weather Service says dry east winds are bringing a higher risk of wildfires to most of western Washington and western Oregon. It has issued a red flag warning for critical fire danger Thursday and Friday.
Forecasters say the winds, combined with low humidity, could cause any fire to rapidly spread out of control. The east winds should ease this weekend.