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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Crews fight wildfire near Yakima

Associated Press

YAKIMA – An Army helicopter and nearly 200 firefighters fought a 150-acre wildfire burning northwest of here on Tuesday, a fire official said.

The fire started Tuesday in the Naches Heights area, Naches Heights Fire Chief Chris O’Dell said. Smoke drifted over nearby Yakima.

No injuries were reported, but firefighters were hampered by winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour, as well as the inaccessibility of the terrain, which included a cliff rising about 300 feet above the Naches River, O’Dell said.

An Army helicopter with a 2,000-gallon water bucket helped about 150 to 200 firefighters from throughout northern Yakima County, O’Dell said.

The safety of a few residential structures was briefly a concern, but they were protected and no evacuations were ordered, he said.

The area is rural brushland and farmland, and O’Dell said the concern was to protect crops.

The cause of the blaze was not known, but O’Dell said it was “suspicious,” because it appeared to be two blazes that broke out at roughly the same time and merged.

By 8 p.m. Tuesday, the fire was only about 10 percent to 20 percent contained, O’Dell said.

The fire was one of several reported recently in Eastern Washington, just days after summer began.

The largest blackened about 25,000 acres of grass and wheat fields in northern Walla Walla County, near the town of Clyde. It was contained Monday.

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