Canadians join Washington wildfire fight

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on September 16, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 17 at 7:53 AM

Emergency officials say there are more than 240 wildfires burning in Washington state, and people in the Wenatchee area continue to struggle with the poor air quality caused by all the smoke.

More than 100 firefighters and support crew from Canada will join about 3,500 Washington and Oregon crews already fighting five large fires.

The entire town of Liberty in Kittitas County was ordered evacuated Saturday because of the Table Mountain fire, but not many people heeded the warning.

"It's coming from the east, from the Wenatchee side," said one resident.

On the Wenatchee side, in the orchard-rich valleys of Cashmere, the flames are visible after the Poison fire suddenly turned on firefighters Saturday night.

"What was unusual is as the day wore on and the sun started to go down and it got cooler, people were starting to relax and just before dark it decided to take off and run, and it made a run to the northeast, came awful close to some homes," said public information officer Alan Hoffmeister

Fire officials say that in addition to Liberty, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest east of State Highway 97 and the Naneum State Forest were ordered evacuated Saturday. Natural resources department officials had ordered the state forest closed earlier in the day to help firefighters.

"We've seen an uptick in emergency calls at night when fire is visible for miles and flames can appear too close for comfort," said Undersheriff Clay Myers Myers, adding that the department's top priority is the health and safety of people. "We are keeping a close, minute-to-minute watch on the fire, and if it threatens to come near homes and property, we'll let people know right away."

Early Saturday morning, fires in the Table Mountain area merged and now are estimated to be more than 2500 acres.

The fire is being managed as part of the Yakima Complex. Nearly 1200 firefighters are working on the fires in Yakima and Kittitas Counties. Firefighters are battling more than 100 fires in Kittitas and Yakima Counties, which were sparked by lightning last week.

For more information visit www.inciweb.org/incident/3256. Residents affected by the fire can contact the Emergency Operations Center at 509-933-8305. For fire information contact the Yakima Complex Information Office at 509-925-1193.

The Wenatchee Complex fire has forced more people from their homes. On Saturday, about 80 more homeowners were told to evacuate.

In the city of Wenatchee, McGinn's Public House restaurant is offering a hot meal to people evacuated from their homes.

This map shows the extent of the uncontrolled areas.

As of Sunday afternoon, here are the numbers for fires in the Wenatchee Complex:

  • Canyon Fire: 8,036 acres
  • Byrd Fire: 13,959 acres
  • Poison Canyon: 3,003 acres
  • Pevine Canyon: 5,255 acres
  • First Creek: 1,440 acres
  • Pyramid: 317 acres
  • Klone: 227 acres
  • Miscellaneous other incidents: 534 acres.

 Nearly 3,000 firefighters from across the state are working 15-hour days battling the fires.
   
The governor has issued a state of emergency and ordered a ban on all outdoor burning in Eastern Washington.

 

 

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