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Grant County fire burns thousands of acres

A fire discovered Sunday morning near Soap Lake burned thousands of acres by evening, prompting mobilization of a Washington state response team.

The Willow Lakes fire was reported shortly after 9 a.m., said Gary Garnant, Grant County Emergency Management director. Driven by winds gusting to 20 mph, it moved quickly through an area of cheat grass and sagebrush, damaging one home and threatening 10 others. Outbuildings and two vehicles were destroyed, Garnant said.

Working the fire on Sunday were local crews, with help – including two airplanes and a helicopter – from the Washington Department of Natural Resources. That will change today, with the expected arrival of three state “strike teams,” each with five wildlife firefighting engines, a team leader and supporting crew.

Elsewhere in Eastern Washington:

•State authorities reported that the Badger Mountain fire complex had burned 14,700 acres since being discovered Tuesday. No homes have been lost, and no injuries reported.

A mandatory evacuation order issued Saturday night by the Douglas County sheriff remained in effect Sunday, affecting about 160 homes near the Columbia River, north of East Wenatchee.

About 380 firefighters were battling the fire.

•The French Valley fire has burned about 1,375 acres of scattered timber and sage on the Colville Indian Reservation. It’s in steep, rocky terrain about six miles east of Omak.

Discovered on Thursday, the fire was reported 50 percent contained on Sunday. It’s tough work, with some crews hiking two to three miles along Omak Creek, then climbing to the top of a ridge to reach areas where containment lines are needed.

• The Cayuse Mountain wildfire 12 miles east of Tonasket was at 1,768 acres, with containment listed at 60 percent and full containment expected Tuesday.

Six homes were threatened and 482 firefighters were on the lines Sunday.

“Essentially, we’re in good shape,” said Roland Emetaz, of the state Department of Natural Resources.

•The Abraham Canyon wildfire was five miles northwest of Inchelium, in Ferry County. It was listed at 277 acres and 40 percent contained. There were 104 firefighters on the lines.