LEAVENWORTH — Officials fighting a new wildfire complex on a Northeast Washington Indian reservation issued an urgent evacuation notice for about 20 homes Tuesday.
The Devil’s Elbow complex of four wildfires was detected Sunday on the Colville Reservation. Officials said it was likely ignited by weekend lightning. It had burned across about 2,000 acres or just over 3 square miles by Tuesday night.
Fire spokeswoman Kathy Moses said six families had evacuated to a community center in Keller, Ferry County. A stretch of state Highway 21 in the area has been closed.
Elsewhere, hot, dry weather on Tuesday allowed two fires in Central Washington to grow, including one blaze that was pushing closer to Highway 97 between Blewett Pass and Leavenworth, Chelan County.
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Residents of about 15 homes near Highway 97 were told to evacuate, and dozens more were advised to be ready to leave, said Nick Mickel, a spokesman for the Chiwaukum complex fire burning near Leavenworth.
“There’s some concern of it burning up to and over Highway 97,” Mickel said of the 65-acre Hansel fire.
The state Emergency Operations Center said wildfires have scorched an estimated 485 square miles in Washington state, and they have burned an estimated 334 homes.
The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning Tuesday, advising that strong winds and low relative humidity could create hazardous fire weather conditions in parts of Central and Eastern Washington. The warning was in effect until Tuesday night.
A lightning-sparked wildfire burning about 10 miles north of Ellensburg was about 10 percent contained Tuesday.
The Snag Canyon fire has destroyed more than a dozen structures, including six homes or cabins, and it threatens dozens of others.
Deputies were escorting residents into the area on a case-by-case basis, but the most serious evacuation notice for about 80 homes was still in effect Tuesday, said Jill Beedle, a spokeswoman for the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center.
The Carlton complex fire, the state’s largest fire burning in North Central Washington, was about 90 percent contained as of Tuesday, officials said.