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Crews Continue Battle Against Wenatchee Fire

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(stock photo / David McNew/Getty Images)

(stock photo / David McNew/Getty Images)

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WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — Firefighters working overnight to protect homes from a 500-acre wildfire near Wenatchee prevented any more structures from being lost, a spokesman said Monday.

“Flames last night got up to one home,” said Wenatchee police Sgt. John Kruse. “Firefighters did some very good structural protection. They were able to save that home.”

Only a shed has been lost. No injuries have been reported at what appeared to be the most-threatening of several wildfires that were started Saturday by lightning.

Residents of about 180 homes on the west side of Wenatchee were told to evacuate Sunday, Kruse said, and a shelter was set up at a Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Wenatchee. But many people are reluctant to leave.

“Quite a few are staying in homes,” Kruse said.

Rains that fell in the Seattle area Sunday night didn’t make it over the Cascades, and the National Weather Service said the front will bring gusty winds Monday that could fan the Eastern Washington wildfires.

“Winds are starting to kick up,” Kruse confirmed. “That is going to be an issue for firefighters to deal with.”

In addition to the fire near Wenatchee in Chelan County, fires apparently started by lightning over the weekend have burned more than 11,000 acres of sagebrush and grass and also threaten homes near Grand Coulee Dam in Douglas and Grant counties. Another fire has burned 200 acres of sagebrush and grass near Odessa in Lincoln County.

As many as 80 fires along the east slopes of the Cascades were set by Saturday night lightning strikes, the Department of Natural Resources said. Most remained small.

A 1,600-acre fire that started last week continues to burn near White Salmon in Klickitat County, although it was 50 percent contained.

The state Emergency Operations Center activated Sunday evening and dispatched four Interagency Incident Management Teams to help local firefighters and coordinate state assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved assistance for the fires near Wenatchee and Grand Coulee Dam where homes are threatened.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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