Washington firefighters made progress Saturday against the Mills Canyon fire, the largest in the state, extending protection to homes in the area as the blaze only slightly grew, fire officials said.
The central Washington fire has consumed nearly 22,000 acres and is 22% contained with 763 firefighters deployed, said Robin DeMario, spokeswoman for the Northwest Coordination Center, a multi-agency firefighting effort.
Highway 97A has reopened and damaged power lines have been repaired, she told the Los Angeles Times. Smoke, however, is causing air quality problems in the nearby town of Entiat.
The cause of the fire that erupted Tuesday is under investigation, DeMario said.
The state’s second-largest fire, at Lake Spokane, which has charred 1,016 acres, was 50% contained Saturday afternoon. All evacuation orders for Spokane have been lifted, DeMario said. There are 300 personnel battling the Lake Spokane fire.
Several other fires in the state should be fully contained by tonight or Sunday night, she said.
State officials extended an outdoor burn ban to include all 13 million acres of lands that the state protects because they're worried the hot, dry weather that is expected to continue in the coming week could increase fire danger.
“Once we get these under control, it doesn’t mean we let out guard down,” DeMario said. “With the weather, we could probably see some more fire starts, especially on Sunday and Sunday night into Monday.”
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