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July 9, 2014 at 5:53 AM

Wildfire update: Residents of 2 dozen homes told they can return

A homeowner and friend watch as helicopters put water on the Mills Canyon wildefire behind their near Entiat. (AP Photo/The Wenatchee World, Mike Bonnicksen)

A homeowner and friend watch as helicopters put water on the Mills Canyon wildefire behind their home near Entiat. (AP Photo/The Wenatchee World, Mike Bonnicksen)

CHELAN (AP) —A wildfire about 4 miles west of Entiat in Chelan County threatened about 200 homes as hot, dry weather raised the risk of more wildfires across central Washington.

A house fire Tuesday started the wildfire in the Mills Canyon area which quickly spread to about 8 square miles.

By Wednesday morning, evacuation advisories had been issued for 200 homes in different areas, ranging from Level 1 “be alert” to Level 2 “be ready” to Level 3 “flee immediately.”

By Wednesday afternoon, the Level 3 advisory had been reduced to Level 2, so residents of about two dozen Mills Canyon home were allowed to return, said spokesman Mick Mueller in Wenatchee.

The fire continued to grow and smoke was visible in Wenatchee.

About 250 firefighters were at the scene with three air tankers dropping retardant and four helicopters dipping water from the Columbia River and dropping it on the flames.

No serious injuries have been reported, and the only home lost is the one where the fire began.

A shelter for displaced residents was opened at Entiat High School where a Washington Incident Management Team also set up a command post.

Another fire early Wednesday burned about 800 acres — more than a square mile — near Quincy. Grant County Fire District 3 Chief Don Fortier told The Wenatchee World (http://bit.ly/1zpZxJ7) that it was nearly out by midmorning.

The situation could become more serious because of weather conditions. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning through 10 p.m. Wednesday for a large area of central Washington. Temperatures in the 90s, combined with low humidity and breezy conditions mean any fire would spread rapidly. Hot weather is forecast through the weekend.

“Things are so tinder dry over here,” said Susan Peterson, another fire information officer. “Any source of flame whether it’s a cigarette ash or Tiki torch, somebody barbecuing or using a lawnmower can start a spark.”

 

Comments | More in General news | Topics: 8 square miles, Entiat, wildfire

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