Crews fighting a wildfire in southeast Washington are working to prevent flames from reaching a watershed that provides drinking water for the city of Walla Walla.

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — Crews fighting a wildfire in southeast Washington that has destroyed one home and threatens dozens others are working to prevent flames from reaching a watershed that provides drinking water for the city of Walla Walla.

Firefighters are removing fuels and securing lines to prevent it from reaching the boundary of the Mill Creek Watershed, fire spokeswoman Amber Mahoney said Thursday.

“We’re doing a lot of fuel reduction work to prevent the fire from jumping that line,” she said. The fire has not burned into the watershed.

The Blue Creek fire has scorched nearly 9 square miles of grass, shrubs and timber about 10 miles east of Walla Walla, a city of 60,000 people. It was about 5 percent contained as of Thursday morning, and an estimated 1,000 firefighters were tackling the blaze in steep, challenging terrain.

Mahoney said evacuation orders are in effect for two rural areas. Several dozen homes are threatened as the wildfire burns in grass, shrubs and timber on state-protected private land. Sections of forest roads in the Umatilla National Forest have been closed.

About 200 people attended a community meeting Wednesday night, Mahoney said.

The fire started Monday was likely human-caused though it’s still under investigation.

The city of Walla Walla has been sampling and testing its ground water wells so they could be used in case the fire does reach the watershed and those wells are needed, said Mori Struve, the city’s public works operations manager.

The city is also working with the help of others to create a defensible space around where freshwater from Mill Creek gets pumped into the city’s water system.

“Right now, the fire is not in the watershed. We’re in close contact with the incident command team. Presently we’re just taking their lead,” Struve said.