YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - As blustery winds eased early Monday,
firefighters struggled to gain ground on a wildfire that destroyed
at least three homes and threatened others in Central Washington.
The fire started Sunday afternoon about 10 miles west of
downtown Yakima and grew to 10,000 acres by late Sunday evening.
Three homes and several outbuildings, such as small barns and
sheds, were destroyed by the flames, said Richard Andring, acting
as fire information officer for the West Valley Fire Department.
During the day, strong winds pushed the fire across
sagebrush-covered hillsides, forcing the evacuation of numerous
homes with firefighters going door-to-door to help residents leave.
Officials did not release a figure on the number of evacuations,
but most residents were allowed to return to their homes as the
fire passed through their area.
Though winds had eased a steady breeze early Monday morning,
dozens of homes were still threatened by the blaze, Andring said.
Flames burning up a hillside could be seen from some parts of
Yakima, an agriculture hub of 71,000 in a region known for its tree
fruit, wine grapes and hops.
More than 200 firefighters were battling the wildfire and about
100 more were expected in the morning, Andring said.
He said the blaze was burning toward a gravel pit and crews were
building fire lines in an effort to direct it there so it will burn
Early Sunday afternoon, the fire burned one fire truck and three
firefighters were taken to a local hospital for treatment of smoke
inhalation. One of the firefighters also twisted an ankle. All
three were treated and released, Andring said.
There were no reports of serious injuries. The cause of the fire
remains under investigation.