Washington Residents Evacuated By Fire Allowed To Return Home

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) -- Residents evacuated by a wildfire between Cle Elum and Ellensburg in central Washington were allowed to return home Tuesday after firefighters gained better control of the fire.

Firefighters expect to fully contain the 250-acre Lauderdale fire on Wednesday. The fire broke out Sunday afternoon along Highway 97 about 6 miles east of Cle Elum near Lookout Mountain.

Residents evacuated from 27 homes in the area were allowed to return home Tuesday, said Dale Warriner, a fire information officer.

The fire destroyed two cabins, including a tin structure. About 300 firefighters were mopping up the fire Tuesday. Eighty were expected to be released on Wednesday, Warriner said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Fire bosses at the SiSi Ridge fire, burning 7 miles west of Stehekin, near Lake Chelan, planned to fly in hotshot crews. But so far, fire officials said the 340-acre fire is not threatening the community.

Lightning started the fire July 19. It is now being managed as part of a complex that includes the 15,000-acre Pot Peak fire, about 15 miles northwest of Chelan in the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.

Lightning started the Pot Peak fire started June 26. It was 75 percent contained but was continuing to burn inside the fire lines.

Elsewhere in Washington, the 200-acre Downey Creek fire, apparently caused by lightning, was burning on the edge of the Glacier Peak Wilderness about 16 miles east of Darrington in the Cascades.

No firefighters were assigned to the blaze, since it was not threatening any structures or campgrounds, said Roger Peterson, a spokesman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.