WENATCHEE (AP) — A brush fire on a hillside in Central Washington is threatening eight homes, with another 25 on notice that they may need to evacuate.
Fire spokesman Rich Magneson of the Chelan County sheriff’s emergency-management team said residents of those eight homes in Wenatchee were strongly encouraged to leave, but not all obeyed the evacuation notice.
“We can’t make those people leave,” Magneson said, noting that Washington state law does not allow for forced evacuations.
The fire came as close as 20 feet to one building, but no structures have been damaged, Magneson said.
The Skyline Drive Fire that was reported at 2:15 a.m. Sunday had spread to about 300 to 400 acres in rough, hilly terrain by midday.
Investigators from the Washington Department of Natural Resources were working to determine the cause of the fire burning in sagebrush and dry grass near a recreational trail system known as Saddle Rock. No lightning was reported in the area, Magneson said.
“We know there were no weather-related issues,” he said. “We identified where it started. They’re trying to determine the cause.”
About 100 firefighters — from Douglas and Chelan counties as well as the Department of Natural Resources — and three helicopters are battling the fire.
They were doing as much as they could to slow down the fire before early Sunday evening, when winds were expected to pick up. Gusts may reach as high as 22 mph and temperatures will hit near 92 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.