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Wildfire threatens scores of homes near Wenatchee

A strong wind pushes flames and smoke toward houses on Austin Court just west of Wenatchee, Wash., in a brush fire in Number 1 Canyon on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 9, 2012. Overnight lightning strikes sparked dozens of new fires in Washington state. (Associated Press/The Wenatchee World/Don Seabrook)
A strong wind pushes flames and smoke toward houses on Austin Court just west of Wenatchee, Wash., in a brush fire in Number 1 Canyon on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 9, 2012. Overnight lightning strikes sparked dozens of new fires in Washington state. (Associated Press/The Wenatchee World/Don Seabrook)

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Firefighters working overnight to protect homes from a 500-acre wildfire near Wenatchee prevented any more structures from being lost, a dispatcher said early this morning.

One outbuilding was destroyed over the weekend and residents of nearly 200 homes were told to evacuate Sunday. No injuries have been reported.

Rains that fell in the Seattle area Sunday night didn’t make it over the Cascades, and the National Weather Service said the front will bring gusty winds today that could fan Eastern Washington wildfires.

The Canyons Fire near Wenatchee is probably the biggest threat to homes, said police Sgt. John Kruse. Residents of 180 houses were told to flee Sunday, but when conditions eased, many were told they could return. The blaze took another run two hours later and officials called for the evacuation to remain in effect.

In addition to the fire near Wenatchee in Chelan County, fires apparently started by lightning over the weekend have burned more than 11,000 acres of sagebrush and grass and also threaten homes near Grand Coulee Dam in Douglas and Grant counties. Another fire has burned 200 acres of sagebrush and grass near Odessa in Lincoln County.

As many as 80 fires along the east slopes of the Cascades were set by Saturday night lightning strikes, the Department of Natural Resources said. Most remained small.

A 1,600-acre fire that started last week continues to burn near White Salmon in Klickitat County, although it was 50 percent contained.

The state Emergency Operations Center activated Sunday evening and dispatched four Interagency Incident Management Teams to help local firefighters and coordinate state assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved assistance for the fires near Wenatchee and Grand Coulee Dam where homes are threatened.



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