- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Firefighters faced high winds Wednesday in battling three grassland wildfires in north-central Washington state that had charred more than 35 square miles (95 square kilometers).

Dozens of structures were threatened in the fires south of Wenatchee. The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning for the area.

Smoke from the various fires could be seen as far away as Spokane, more than 100 miles east.

Some 160 firefighters had contained about 30 percent of a lightning-caused fire that threatened about 80 structures nine miles southeast of Wenatchee. The fire grew to 12 square miles (30 square kilometers) overnight.

Another fire 15 miles south of East Wenatchee grew to 16 square miles (40 square kilometers) and was 10 percent contained by 150 firefighters. About 30 structures were threatened, and firefighters issued an evacuation order for people living the area.

A third fire, 20 miles south of East Wenatchee, burned 9 square miles (24 square kilometers) and was 20 percent contained by 50 firefighters.

Near Yakima, a wildfire grew to nearly a square mile (2 square kilometers) with no containment. Residents of about 10 homes in the area were ordered to evacuate.

Firefighters in central Washington were dealing with heavy grasses, some up to 4 feet tall, because of a wet spring.

“There’s a lot of fuel out there and it’s ready to burn,” Lonnie Click, incident manager for the fire near Yakima, told The Seattle Times.

Smoke from the various fires could be seen as far away as Spokane, more than 100 miles east.

The Washington Department of Ecology reported that the smoke made air quality unhealthy in the Moses Lake vicinity early Wednesday.

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