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Saturday, August 9, 2014 - Page updated at 09:30 p.m.

Winds spread wildfire outside Ellensburg to 8,400 acres

Seattle Times news services

ELLENSBURG — The Snag Canyon fire grew only slightly Wednesday, but at day’s end authorities worried that rising winds could push the fire farther east overnight.

Winds of 25 to 35 mph were blowing across the burning ridge, about 12 miles north of Ellensburg. Similar winds Tuesday afternoon and evening fanned the fire, causing it to double as it jumped fire lines and moved to denser timber in Naneum Canyon.

The fire, started by lightning on Saturday evening, had grown to 8,400 acres by Thursday morning.

Over the weekend, six homes and numerous outbuildings were destroyed in the Snag Canyon area where the fire began.

On Wednesday, owners of Sun East area properties who had been forced to evacuate over the weekend were allowed to return, said Jill Beedle, spokeswoman for the Kittitas County Emergency Operations Center.

Fire spokesmen say a wildfire burning on the Colville Indian Reservation in Northeastern Washington has burned across about 7,000 acres or about 11 square miles.

Residents of about 25 homes have been told to evacuate in the face of the Devil’s Elbow complex fires. Detected Sunday, those fires were likely ignited by lightning.

Fire spokeswoman Karen Ripley said late Wednesday that no homes have burned.

In Oregon, a new wildfire pushed by gusting winds threatened the small Columbia River Gorge community of Rowena, where residents of 275 homes were told to evacuate as of Wednesday night.

The fire made a run along the river in evening, fire spokesman Dave Wells said. As the day’s smoke cleared, flames were visible from The Dalles, about six miles away.

An unspecified number of residents in an outlying neighborhood of the Dallas were also told to be ready to leave, Wells said.

No homes had burned as of Wednesday night, he said.

Material from The Yakima Herald-Republic and The Associated Press was included in this report.

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