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New Methow Valley wildfire burns 6-8 homes

"SignalHill Twisp. Not far from Carlton Complex Incident Command Post" (Washington DNR via Twitter)

TWISP, Wash. (AP) -- A new wildfire in north-central Washington has burned six to eight homes between Twisp and Winthrop.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers says a new lightning storm on Saturday knocked down trees and is causing more problems in the already stressed community.

Rogers says downed trees are blocking Highway 20, which was reopened Saturday morning after the Rising Eagle Fire calmed down overnight.

The Methow Valley wildfire near the much larger Carlton Complex of fires has grown to between 400 and 600 acres.

The Carlton Complex has burned an area of about 395 square miles and destroyed about 300 homes. As of Saturday morning, it was 81 percent contained.

About 200 homes are under an evacuation order. The fire is burning in a wooded area with homes scattered throughout.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A new wildfire in north-central Washington has burned an unknown number of homes between Twisp and Winthrop, fire officials said Saturday morning.

The Rising Eagle Road Fire has grown to between 400 and 600 acres, but it calmed down Friday night, fire spokesman Andy Lyon said.

During a morning walk near the fire perimeter, Lyon saw damaged and destroyed homes, but he said he did not know the total number of buildings affected.

Firefighters were concentrating on protecting about 200 homes under an evacuation order. There were dramatic rescues of homes overnight, Lyon said.

The homes in danger are scattered among the trees along country roads. Some residents battled the flames before the state Department of Natural Resources and local fire crews arrived, Lyon said.

"Some great saves were made. Unfortunately, not all the homes were saved," he said.

Forecasters were predicting more dry lighting and some possible showers in the area on Saturday.

Although the forecasters weren't expecting enough rain to help firefighting efforts, there was a possibility of isolated downpours that could cause debris flows similar to flash floods, Lyon said.

"There are no plants holding the soil in place anymore," he said. A moderate amount of rain in a short amount of time could cause a burned-out mountainside to turn into a mudslide, Lyon added.

The fire started around 2:30 p.m. Friday west of Highway 20, which was closed for much of the day.

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