Investigators have ruled out “any natural cause” for the fire that destroyed two dozen homes in Wenatchee, a sheriff’s spokesman said Wednesday morning.
Investigators have ruled out “any natural cause” for the Sleepy Hollow fire that destroyed more than two dozen homes in Wenatchee and burned nearly 3,000 acres, a sheriff’s spokesman said Wednesday.
“There was no lightning that could have caused the fire. So more than likely, it’s human-caused,” Rich Magnussen of the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office said.
Magnussen said investigators are still working to determine the specific cause and whether it was set accidentally. A total of 29 primary residences burned, along with three businesses, including a recycling plant, and an outbuilding.
Wednesday night, fire officials reported the Wenatchee fire was 83 percent contained.
Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz said at a news conference that he’d signed a declaration banning the use of fireworks in the city through July 4. Chelan County commissioners have also declared the county a hazardous fire area, which prohibits outdoor burning and the use of fireworks in unincorporated areas.
In addition, Cashmere and Leavenworth were to adopt fireworks bans proposed by their fire chiefs, all citing the tinder-dry conditions of the wildlands that surround them, The Wenatchee World reported.
In Quincy, the fast-moving Monument Hill wildfire prompted the temporary evacuation of two dozen homes Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The fire torched a handful of outbuildings, abandoned homes and some farmlands, officials say.
Kyle Foreman, a spokesman for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, said an emergency shelter was opened by the Red Cross at Quincy Junior High overnight, but it appeared evacuees spent the night elsewhere.
“Deputies went door to door but most self- evacuated, and we think they stayed with friends and relatives,” he said. “There were no people there.”
The fire started around 11 p.m. Tuesday in a hilly area of dry sagebrush and dry grass. Winds fanned the fire and blew it toward the southeast, prompting a Level III emergency evacuation, Foreman said. “It was moving very, very fast,” he said.
The cause of the blaze is being investigated, he said.
Foreman said that as of 6 a.m. Wednesday the 2,100-acre blaze was estimated to be 20 to 30 percent contained.
The Paradise fire, which has been burning in the Olympic National Park since mid-June, continues to creep slowly up Pelton Peak, according to the National Forest Service.
The fire, about 15 miles north of Quinault, began around the 700-foot elevation level and is now at the 3000-foot level, where it is burning through heavy fuel on the forest floor on both sides of Paradise Creek, according to information released Wednesday on InciWeb.