SEATTLE --Gov. Chris Gregoire has met with some of the residents driven from their south-central Washington homes by a wildfire near Satus Pass. She assured the group of about 50 people that the state would do everything it can to protect their homes and property despite a budget crunch.
The governor visited them Thursday night at the Klickitat County fairgrounds, where the Red Cross has set up an evacuation center under the grandstands.
Interagency management team spokesman Dale Warriner says there are no reports of injuries.
The state Department of Natural Resources says 300 people have been evacuated as the blaze burning along Highway 97 has charred more than 5,300 acres.
The fire started Wednesday off of Highway 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish. Mandatory evacuation began overnight for dozens of homes as the blaze grew.
The state took over management of the fire Thursday and ordered 65 engines and water tenders to the scene. Fire managers are operating from the county fairgrounds in Goldendale, where an evcuation center has also been set up.
A group of nuns from St. Johns Greek Monastery, located about 10 miles outside Goldendale, have been doing their best to protect their home and place of worship.
The women were seen in their full habits, hauling garden hoses and water buckets across Highway 97 to help put out the fire.
At least 200 firefighters were working on putting out the blaze. Weather conditions make it difficult with another hot windy day in the forecast.
Brooks Memorial State Park is closed and traffic is closed on Highway 97 between Toppenish and Goldendale.
Another wildfire in Washington has burned about 400 acres in a remote part of the Brothers Wilderness on the Olympic Peninsula.