Wildfire burning east of Mount Vernon

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SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. —

A wildfire burning in the Big Rock area three miles east of Mount Vernon near Highway 9 Thursday is mostly under control.

 The area is popular with hikers.

 Though there are some ground crews in the wooded areas, a chopper is making water drops onto the flames because of the extremely steep terrain.

 The fire, which authorities were alerted to at 2:15 a.m., is burning in dense timber and brush, and is about 1 acre in size.

See photos of the wildfire here.

Both directions of SR 9 between East College Way (SR 538) and Mount Vernon Big Lake Road will continue to be closed until nightfall while the helicopter drops water over the flames.

 The Department of Natural Resources said the fire was likely caused by humans and not the lightning storm two days ago, as a statewide burn ban is in effect for all forest land, and there have been recent problems with campfires.

Only one house was threatened by the flames, but it was protected by a helicopter making water drops.

Homeowners are being warned to charge their water hoses, lay them out, clear debris off rooftops and secure combustibles, such as gas cans, for the dry week ahead.