A fast-burning wildfire southwest of Ellensburg spread overnight from five acres to 1,500, prompting emergency evacuation notices to about 50 homes or structures 10 miles north of Naches, Yakima County. The fire grew to 5,600 acres within a few hours Thursday morning.

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The Cow Canyon fire was first reported at the Wenas Barbecue Flats Horse Camp around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to InciWeb- Incident Information System.

No major injuries have been reported.

A Level 3 evacuation order is in place for 1.5 miles radius around the intersection of Maloy and Audubon roads, with a Level 2 for North Wenas Road from Wenas Lake to Ellensburg, Yakima County Emergency Management Director Tony Miller told the Yakima Herald-Republic. People were moving cattle out of the area Wednesday night and trucks for evacuating livestock were nearby should they become needed, the Herald reported.

The blaze grew quickly Wednesday, fueled by grass, brush and timber. It was fostered by strong winds, high temperatures and low relative humidity, fire authorities reported.

Firefighting resources, including multiple engine crews, aircraft and other heavy equipment, were responding to the fire burning in moderately difficult terrain.


The firefighting planes were using local bodies of water, including Wenas Lake, to fill up, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Recreational boaters should be aware of aircraft takeoff and landings and keep a safe distance, the center said.


An emergency shelter was established at the Selah Civic Center. Anyone displaced by the fire can call the American Red Cross at 509-457-1690.

Of concern is the forecast Thursday that calls for west winds of 7 to 14 mph with gusts up to 22 mph and temperatures in the high 80s, InciWeb reported.

Smoke will be visible throughout most of the Yakima Valley and may impact air quality. Visit Washington Smoke Information for more specific and up-to-date air quality information.