• Forest Service calls in backup to fight wildfire near Chelan

    Updated:

    ENTIAT, Wash. - A wildfire burning between Lake Chelan and the Entiat Valley had consumed up to 300 acres Friday and was growing.

     

    About 160 firefighters, up from 80 earlier in the day, and three helicopters worked to fight the blaze, which started Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Forest Service said.

     

    The Forest Service said it doesn't know how the fire started, but homeowner Shannon Hicks said she heard shooting -- perhaps someone taking target practice -- just before she noticed flames bearing down on her property.

     

    "I called 911 and got sprinklers going and watched it go up the hill," she said. "It's frightening when it's literally a stone's throw from your house."

     

    There are 34 homes near the fire. One family has been evacuated and about 20 more are prepared to flee if their homes are threatened.

     

    "It caught fast and took off," homeowner Rusty Wolf said. "It's really dry."

     

    Wolf said he won't argue if he gets the call to leave.

     

    "You do what you're told, you respect your authority," he said.

     

    Firefighters on Friday morning planned to cut lines around the fire and drop water on it before it got hot, said KIRO 7's Rick Price, in live reports from the area.

     

    A Forest Service spokeswoman said dry grass is burning, and the fire could take off if conditions worsen.

     

    Officials had closed sections of Highway 97A and the Navarre Coulee Road in the Entiat area, but Highway 97A is reopened Friday. Motorists were warned to expect delays from air traffic as helicopters dip buckets into the Columbia River to fight the fire.

     

    High temperatures were forecast in the upper 90s Friday and over 100 on Saturday and Sunday. 

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