Wildfire threatens homes in tinder-dry Chelan County

ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) - A new wildfire near Spokane quickly burned across 550 to 600 acres Wednesday, prompting evacuation orders for about a dozen homes. In central Washington, a wildfire burned close to a major highway and threatened several more homes.

In northeast Washington, fire spokesman Guy Gifford said Wednesday evening that several dozen homes in all are threatened by the blaze south of Ford that started earlier in the day. About 100 firefighters were on the lines Wednesday night with planes and helicopters dropping water and retardant.

Ground crews aided by bulldozers and fire engines planned to work through the night, he said.

Gifford said he wasn't aware of any damage to homes. Several firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.

In central Washington's Chelan County, a wildfire that has burned across 6,100 acres, or 9 1/2 square miles, west of Entiat burned down to U.S. Highway 97A, prompting the temporary closure of a 30-mile stretch of that road between Wenatchee and Chelan. Mandatory evacuation notices were issued for several homes there Wednesday night, fire spokesman Rick Scriven said. Several dozen other homeowners were on alert.

About 250 firefighters aided by air tankers dropping retardant and helicopters dipping water from the Columbia River attacked the Mills Canyon fire on Wednesday.

A house fire is blamed for starting that blaze Tuesday.

There's no containment yet on either fire.

Another fire early Wednesday burned about 800 acres - more than a square mile - near Quincy in central Washington. Grant County Fire District 3 Chief Don Fortier said it was nearly out by midmorning.

Hot weather is forecast through the weekend for central and eastern Washington.

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