Smoke rises from the area of a wildfire near Entiat, Wash., Friday, July 11, 2014. Several hundred firefighters worked Friday to contain the fire that has burned grass and brush across nearly 30 square miles in central Washington. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

Washington fire grows slightly; some progress made

More Photos

See all photos

ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) -- A wildfire burning grass, brush and scattered timber in central Washington has grown by about 2 square miles, but officials reported good progress in protecting homes in the area.

Fire operations spokesman Rick Acosta said 763 personnel continued fighting the Mills Canyon fire, which by Saturday morning had grown to about 34 square miles near Entiat, roughly midway between Seattle and Spokane.

Despite hot weather, the fire did not spread appreciably during the day Saturday, he said. It was about one-fifth contained, and smoke was affecting the air quality in Entiat and other nearby towns.

"We are seeing moderate fire behavior today, but it's not making runs and getting ahead of itself like it was," Acosta said. "We're hoping to keep it where it is."

There was more moisture in the trees above 3,000 feet in elevation, and on hills where the fire incinerated dead and downed logs to thin lines of ash, some of the standing pines remained green, he said.

Residents of several dozen homes had been told to evacuate. Officials said crews did good work protecting more than 100 houses along Highway 97A, and on Saturday they were working to protect 14 homes along Roaring Creek, near the fire's northern edge. Another priority was digging fire lines along the western edge to contain the blaze.

Crews were also using aircraft to dump fire retardant or buckets of water.

Authorities worried about the hot weather over the next few days and warned that thunderstorms Sunday and Monday could start more fires. State officials have extended an outdoor burn ban to include all 13 million acres of lands that the state protects.

The Mills Canyon fire was the largest of a half-dozen fires burning in central and eastern Washington. The others were all less than 3 square miles, and most were contained or nearing full containment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Top Stories

  • Community In Shock
    2 dead, 4 students struggling to survive after Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.