- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

CHELAN, Wash. (AP) - A wildfire that dramatically grew Saturday has destroyed 50 t0 75 structures around the southeast rim of Lake Chelan, a popular vacation spot, The Wenatchee World newspaper reported (https://bit.ly/1MuzZTr).

The fire began as five separate blazes on Friday after a series of lightning strikes, the paper reported. On Saturday, the fires combined and grew together to cover 60,000 acres.

Embers from the fire crossed the Columbia River and set fuels ablaze in McNeil Canyon in Douglas County, the paper reported. As evening fell, firefighters’ focus was on a segment of the fire that sent a large plume of smoke up over Union Valley by 10:30 a.m. and encouraged all residents in that area to evacuate.

Sgt. Kent Sisson, emergency manager for the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, said the fire is progressing toward the southeast, and has led to notices that encourage evacuation for about 1,200 to 1,600 people.

“A fair amount” of people receiving Level 3 notifications have chosen to remain in their homes, he said.

“If the fire starts encompassing their property, we’ll see them leave at the last minute,” Sisson said.

Lake Chelan Hospital evacuated its residing patients Saturday afternoon, while keeping its emergency room open. Two senior care centers also voluntarily shifted residents to Wenatchee, putting many of them up in hotels.


Information from: The Wenatchee World, https://www.wenatcheeworld.com

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