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June 7, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Winds feed wildfire in Yakima County, homes threatened

The Associated Press

MOXEE, Yakima County  — Fire officials say a fast-moving wildfire pushed by winds of more than 30 miles per hour has raced across a wide swath of central Washington sagebrush and grassland, briefly threatening several homes.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that no homes were lost but several homeowners gathered their pets and moved to safer ground as the fire raced past.

Dave Deccio of the East Valley Fire Department said Friday night that a helicopter crew estimated the fire had burned across 7,000 acres or nearly 11 square miles. It started Friday afternoon and the cause was not immediately known.

The newspaper said the fire started east of Moxee.

At least 10 area fire departments responded. Two helicopters provided by the state Department of Natural Resources dropped water on the blaze.

An incident command team including fire crews from Benton County, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was scheduled to take over, the newspaper reported.

Area resident Kelly Briskie told the Herald-Republic that the fire burned close to her home on Prairie Dog Road. She and her mother, who lives next door, started their sprinklers and left their homes temporarily.

“I started packing the animals and some important papers when I saw the fire coming,” she said.

The fire skirted shooting ranges in the Sun Valley Shooting Park. Tires lining impact zones in one of the ranges were set ablaze and continued to burn through the evening, sending up thick black smoke, the newspaper reported.

Range Manager Gary Brown said he had five customers when he first smelled the smoke. “I told them to get out of here,” he said.

Then he grabbed his Doberman, Roxie, and he left too.

Comments | Topics: East Valley Fire Department

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