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Fire burns hundreds of acres near Colfax, prompts evacuations

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 8, 2020

A fire in Colfax on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 cause at least part of the town to be evacuated.  (National Weather Service)
A fire in Colfax on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 cause at least part of the town to be evacuated. (National Weather Service)

A fire erupted Monday morning near Colfax and quickly burned hundreds of acres, forcing residents to evacuate and stretching thin local firefighting resources.

The fire started at about 10:40 a.m. and was threatening crops, city residents and infrastructure and the Port of Whitman airport. The state fire marshal’s office reported the fire had burned between 500 and 1,000 acres. Level 3 evacuation orders – meaning “Get out now” – were in effect.

State firefighting resources were authorized to assist local fire districts at about 12:15 p.m. Two wildfire strike teams and a structural fire strike team were deployed.

At about 1 p.m. the Pullman Police Department said residents fleeing nearby Colfax could shelter at the new Pullman City Hall recreation building at 190 S.E. Crestview St. Red Cross representatives were stationed at the building.

Pullman Radio News reported local fire districts needed farmers to stop harvesting Monday to avoid sparking additional fires in their dry fields.

Also in Whitman County, another fire was reported near the town of Rosalia, fueled by strong winds about a mile west of Highway 195.

This story is developing.

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