A day after a grass wildfire erupted in the Chelan Hills area on the east bank of the Columbia River, firefighters were able to gain control it.
A day after a grass fire erupted in the Chelan Hills area on the east bank of the Columbia River, firefighters Saturday turned it back from threatened homes and lifted road closures and evacuation orders.
The wildfire had spread to some 1,800 acres and was officially only 40 percent contained by Sunday at 7 a.m.
Michael Krueger, public information officer for the firefighter team, said Saturday night crews of about 300 people working to suppress the fire expected to soon have it under full control. As of Sunday morning, 130 personnel were working on the fire.
“Barring some wind event, this fire is on its last legs,” Krueger said.
He said ground crews had established fire boundaries of 50 to 100 feet around threatened structures and previous Level 3 evacuation orders on some 50 homes – requiring residents to leave immediately – were downgraded to Level 1, which means just be aware there’s a fire nearby.
Highway 97, closed Friday night, was reopened Saturday about 10 a.m., Krueger said. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is managing road closures around the fire and encourages the public to follow updates on its Facebook or Twitter pages.
Four air firefighting tankers, three helicopters and a larger retardant plane from Canada mounted an air attack on the fire Friday. “We had quite an air show to knock it out,” said Krueger.
The fire was located just south of Beebe Bridge, where Highway 97 crosses the Columbia, about 5 miles southwest of the city of Chelan.