Crews fighting wildfire near Lake Chelan brace for 100+ temps

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 6, 2012 at 6:36 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 6 at 8:38 PM

ENTIAT, Wash. -- Another 40 firefighters arrived Friday at a wildfire burning grass and brush between Entiat and Chelan, about 20 miles north of Wenatchee.

That will bring the total to about 160 firefighters, working to build a line around the near 300-acre fire in hilly terrain near Lake Chelan.

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon around Navarre Coulee Road and grew overnight.

Firefighters continued to construct fire line with the aid of one helicopter and a single engine air tanker from Deer Park, near Spokane.  So far, firefighters have constructed a fire line around 30-40 percent of the fire.  They're bracing for scorching temperatures, expected to reach around 105 degrees on Saturday.

The Wenatchee World reports 33 homes in the area are under differing levels of evacuations. Forest Service spokeswoman Robin DeMario said the occupants of one home in the Navarre Coulee area were told to evacuate and residents of a couple dozen more homes have been told to be ready to flee.

No structures have been burned. One firefighter was hit by a rolling rock and suffered a minor injury.

DeMario says Highway 97A will be closed intermittently by helicopters flying over with water, but people still should be able to get to Lake Chelan.

Navarre Coulee Road remains closed and there are boating restrictions on the Columbia River where helicopters are picking up water.

New pictures of the fire, taken by viewer David DeVorkin, show firefighters working on steep hills covered in dry grass, brush, and sparse timber.

The high temperature is forecast in the upper 90s Friday and near 105 on Saturday and Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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