Washington Wildfire Forces Evacuations

DRYDEN, Wash. (AP) -- About 200 firefighters continued battling a fire Tuesday that forced a mandatory evacuation of 38 homes near Dryden in north-central Washington.

The Fischer fire held to more than 200 acres overnight, said Doug Bowie, a spokesman for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.

``They got a lot of good work done yesterday. They felt they were making some progress,'' Bowie said.

On Monday, fire officials estimated the fire had burned between 250 and 300 acres.

The fire started Sunday evening about 20 miles northwest of Wenatchee. It was burning on private, state and national forest land. Flaming trees were visible to drivers along U.S. Highway 2 between Leavenworth and Dryden.

Its cause was unknown.

Twenty homes in Derby Canyon and 18 homes in Williams Canyon were evacuated, said Robin DeMario, spokeswoman for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. No structures had burned.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at a middle school in Leavenworth. Air tankers were dropping thousands of gallons of retardant, and helicopters were called in to drop water on the edges of the fire and on hot spots.

Helicopters also were called in to drop water on a fire that started Monday afternoon on the Oak Creek Wildlife Refuge, about 20 miles northwest of Yakima.

No homes were evacuated, but the fire grew rapidly and was estimated at about 1,000 acres, said Rand Kapral, communications center manager for the southeast district of the state Department of Natural Resources and the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.

The cause of that fire also was unknown.

Near Lake Chelan, firefighters continued to monitor a complex of three fires that have been burning for weeks. The Pot Peak-Sisi Ridge complex remained at 46,970 acres and was 85 percent contained.

Firefighters were patrolling the Pot Peak and Sisi Ridge fires by air. Officials were still urging caution for residents near the Deep Harbor fire, which has grown to 29,500 acres and was 80 percent contained.

About 485 firefighters were assigned to the three fires.

Warm, dry conditions were expected for the next several days, said Lori Hammer, fire information officer.

``Right now, we're maintaining the level of resources we're at, and we're just going to hold tight for the next couple of days and see what the weather brings,'' Hammer said.

One injury - a firefighter who fell and broke a wrist - was reported over the weekend, Hammer said.

All three fires in the complex were started by lightning - the Pot Peak fire on June 26 and the Deep Harbor and Sisi Ridge fires on July 19. The Deep Harbor fire burned a dock and picnic shelter at a campground.

Seventy firefighters were assigned to the Rattlesnake Peak fire about 40 miles west of Yakima. By Monday morning, the lightning-caused fire had burned about 730 acres of heavy fuel in an area that had not burned for 60 years.

Firefighters also were mopping up five small fires burning south of Mount Adams. The lightning-caused fires were burning in dense, heavy fuel about 10 miles north of Trout Lake.