ENTIAT, Wash. - Mandatory evacuations were reinstated in Chelan County after a wildfire burning west of Entiat jumped over U.S. Highway 97A and grew to 7,000 acres late Wednesday.
Chelan County Emergency Management say residences on 97A between Swakane Canyon and Entiat are now under a Level 3 evacuation.
A 30-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 97a is now closed from Wenatchee at milepost 201 to milepost 230.5 south of Chelan. Motorists going between Wenatchee and Chelan can use U.S. 2 on the east side of the Columbia River.
Drivers were also advised to use U.S. 97 via Orondo, though Chelan County officials say visibility is bad due to thick smoke and advise motorists to drive slow.
Officials had lowered the evacuation alert earlier Wednesday to Level 2 for about two dozen homes in Mill Canyon, but windy and hot fire conditions caused the wildfire to flare bacl up.
A house fire Tuesday started the wildfire in the Mills Canyon area which quickly spread to about 8 square miles. Fire spokesman Mick Mueller says about 250 firefighters were aided by air tankers dropping retardant and helicopters dropping water; the fire remains zero-percent contained.
A total of about 200 residents in the area four miles west of Entiat remain under a Level 2 "be ready" or Level 1 "be alert" evacuation advisories.
Interactive: Build a wildfire defensible zone around your home
Fire evacuation levels (Source: Chelan County Fire Dist. 1)
- Level 1 evacuations are an alert. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists, and monitor local media outlets for information. Residents with special needs, or those with pets or livestock, should take note and make preparations for relocating family members, pets, and livestock.
- Level 2 evacuations indicate there is a significant risk to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the area, or, be ready to leave at a moments notice.
- Level 3 means danger is currently affecting your area or is imminent, and you should leave immediately.
Rock Hill Fire doubles
Another fire at Rock Hill almost doubled in size Tuesday, growing from 1,500 acres to over 2,400 acres. But crews now have the fire 70 percent contained, up from 40 percent earlier in the day.
The Douglas County fire has destroyed two mobile homes and eight outbuildings. 30 homes are still threatened.
The area is under Level 1 and Level 2 evacuations.
The Southeast Washington Interagency hopes to have the the fire contained by Friday.
Wildfire in Grant County
A new wildfire was reported about seven miles from Quncy along Highway 28 Wednesday.
A Grant County fire spokesman said the 800-acre fire started around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. It was about 10 percent contained and there were no reports of injuries, but some structures could be threatened.
The cause was not immediately reported.