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July 26, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Wildfire burning at Mount Si as King County issues burn ban

UPDATE, 8:07 p.m. | Fire spokesmen say nearly 180 homes are now threatened by a wildfire burning near Satus Pass in south-central Washington while east of Seattle, crews worked on a small wildfire just outside of North Bend, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The new fire on Mount Si, a popular hiking destination, was 50 percent contained by 5 p.m. Friday and had burned about two acres. Eastside Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Bud Backer told KOMO-TV  local fire engine companies responded before handing the fire over to the state Department of Natural Resources. A DNR helicopter has dropped water on the blaze and crews were able to create a hose line around it.

Spokesman Mark Grassel says the fire near Goldendale has burned 4,600 acres or about 7 square miles along the top of Satus Pass. No homes have been lost. Most of U.S. Highway 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish remains closed due to the fire

UPDATE, 2:11 p.m.  | A wildfire outside of North Bend on Mount Si is growing and spreading into a wilderness area, according to Eastside Fire and Rescue.

Only a small portion of the fire is accessible from a road, and the fire is moving uphill away from that road.

The state Department of Natural Resources has a helicopter responding from Ellensburg, about 80 miles away.

No evacuations have been ordered.

 ORIGINAL POST | A small wildfire began outside of North Bend on Mount Si on Friday afternoon, the same day that officials issued a burn ban for King County.

The one-acre fire caused concern because it was visible from Interstate 90, according to a spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources.

“We really want to get that one out quickly,” said the spokeswoman, Janet Pearce, noting that DNR officials along with local firefighters and the United States Fire Service are on the scene.

Authorities were also fighting a larger fire 15 miles northeast of Goldendale, off Highway 97.

That fire, which began Wednesday morning, had grown to 4,650 acres by 1:30 p.m. Friday, Pearce said. It was 3 percent contained, she said.

Some 800 firefighters were on the scene, she said. Residents in the towns of Bickleton and Cleveland were told to be on alert in case of an evacuation.

The burn ban, which will be effective Monday, applies to all outdoor burning in unincorporated King County except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property, according to a county news release.

Those fires must be built in a metal or concrete fire pits free from any vegetation, grow no larger than three feet in diameter and be attended to at all times, according to the release.

“It’s a very critical time for fire behavior right now with everything so hot and dry,” Pearce said.

Comments | More in Environment, General news | Topics: North Bend, wilderness, wildfire

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