Evacuations ordered for Swakane wildfire

More evacuation orders have been issued as a fast moving wildfire burns on a hillside along the Columbia River.

The fire was first spotted on Saturday afternoon near the Swakane State Wildlife area just seven miles from Wenatchee, Washington.

As of 11:30 Sunday morning, the fire had grown to about 4,500 acres. About 160 firefighters from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, and many state and local fire agencies are on the scene, trying to set up a fire line. Five helicopters were also brought in for water drops on the fire.

On Sunday afternoon, the Chelan County Sheriff’s office declared a Level One Evacuation Advisory for people living in the Turtle Rock Estates at mile marker 207 on Highway 97-A. There are about ten homes in the estates and the sheriff’s department is warning people the fire could pose a sever threat to people or buildings.

The evacuation orders on Sunday, were in addition to the Level Two Evacuation notices issued Saturday for people living near Swakane Canyon. Those people were told to leave their homes and many stayed in a Red Cross shelter overnight.

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Department is also conducted intermittent closures of Highway 97A near the fire. As of 11:00pm Sunday, the highway was open, but the sheriff’s office is asking drivers to only use Highway 97 on the east side of the Columbia River.