Washington state firefighters take advantage of calm wind; blaze threatened hundreds of homes
Friday, August 20th 2004, 10:50 am
By: News On 6
DRYDEN, Wash. (AP) _ Firefighters took advantage of calmer wind to dig more lines in their battle against a blaze that has threatened hundreds of homes near this central Washington town.
There was little movement early Friday in the fire, only perhaps a few hundred acres, based on preliminary infrared mapping, fire information officer Candace Johnson said.
The fire was last estimated at 15,855 acres and 30 percent contained. More than 300 homes remained under an evacuation order, and residents of hundreds of others were on notice they also might have to leave.
One home has been burned and one damaged since the blaze began Aug. 8, and incident commander Bob Anderson described the battle as ``a 15-round slugfest.''
After the fire's explosive growth during high wind earlier in the week, information officer Jon Kohn said crews had a second ``very successful'' day in a row as the wind subsided Thursday.
But the forecast for Saturday night calls for 30 mph wind over several hours, he said, leaving only ``one more day before the lines are tested in all directions by wind.''
Gov. Gary Locke toured the fire by air Thursday and promised that the state would assist local communities with firefighting costs, estimated at $7.9 million so far.
``I saw areas where the fire had burned down right next to homes, and were it not for the efforts of firefighters, those homes would have been lost,'' Locke said.