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WA wildfire destroys 4 homes

Southern California wildfire, meantime, is fully contained.

BY P.J. HELLER | BOISE, Idaho | September 21, 2007

A wildfire in Washington destroyed four homes and threatened about 60 others while a wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest that forced hundreds of residents from their California mountain homes was fully contained Thursday, officials reported.

In Washington, four homes on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River were destroyed by a wildfire pushed by wind gusts of up to 38 mph. As many as 60 other homes near White Salmon were threatened, prompting mandatory evacuations. The fire has burned about 150 acres and was 15 percent contained.

Elsewhere in the state, voluntary evacuation orders remained in place for residents in Holden Village and Lucern due to the Domke Lake Complex wildfire about 36 miles northwest of Chelan, Wash. More than 100 structures are threatened by the 12,150-acre blaze, caused by a lightning strike Aug. 5. The fire was 35 percent contained, according to the latest report.

The California Butler2 fire, which started Sept. 14 in the San Bernardino National Forest, burned 14,039 acres.

Evacuation orders for the area were lifted Wednesday evening for residents who were forced to flee their homes near Big Bear Lake. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Fire personnel was reduced to about 1,400, down from the more than 2,300 who had battled the blaze.

Elsewhere, rain and snow continued to help firefighters across the West, where the number of large active fires dropped to eight, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Three of the blazes were in Idaho and two were in Montana.

In Idaho, voluntary evacuations and road closures were expected to be reduced Friday at the Cascade Complex of fires. The lightning-sparked blaze has burned 302,376 acres with containment remaining at 28 percent. The fire, burning since July 17, was 27 miles east of Cascade. More than 650 firefighters were on the fire lines there.

Minimal fire activity was reported on the East Zone Complex of four fires, which has consumed some 300,000 acres since it began July 6. Evacuation warnings remained in place but were expected to be reviewed with the possibility that they could be lifted by the weekend. The fire was 25 miles northeast of McCall, Iadho. Full containment was expected Sept. 30.


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