SELAH, Wash. — Crews expect to continue gaining control today over the wildfire that blackened 9,344 acres north of Selah.
The fire was 15 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon, said Nancy Jones, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman. She said fire crews worked Wednesday on establishing and improving fire breaks throughout the day.
“I think we’ll see that number go up,” Jones said.
As of Wednesday, 275 firefighters from several agencies were working the fire, which started about 11 a.m. Tuesday. Two helicopters and two aerial tankers were available, but Jones said she did not know if they were used Wednesday.
Jones said the fire burned mostly sagebrush and grass in the hills. She said the area that firefighters are concerned about are the cliffs near the Yakima River to the east, where the terrain poses a threat to fire crews. Fire officials are evaluating the situation to determine the best approach to containing the fire in that area, she said.
“They’re certainly not going to put anybody in that area and get them hurt,” Jones said.
Although the fire has burned in both the L.T. Murray and Wenas Wildlife areas, officials are now calling it the Cottonwood II Fire.
The fire is burning on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the state Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Tuesday, a shop and barn were reported destroyed and a home damaged by the blaze. A dozen people were ordered to evacuate. Authorities lifted the evacuation order at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jones said.
The fire also closed the Yakima Rim Skyline Trail, Jones said.
Winds are expected to be 8 mph today, according to Michael Vescio, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. No rain is forecast through Friday, Vescio said.