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Washington Town Ordered to Evacuate Again

August 6, 2015

Update 6:15 p.m.: Officials fighting a fire near the town of Roosevelt, Washington, ordered residents of about 25 homes to evacuate immediately Wednesday evening. The mandatory evacuation order comes after the Columbia River Gorge fire grew to more than 17,000 acres Wednesday.  

No injuries have been reported. The Klickitat County Sheriff's Office upped the evacuation order from Level 1 to Level 3 after the wind-driven fire in sage and grass lands kicked up Wednesday afternoon.

The American Red Cross reopened a shelter at the Bickleton School in Bickleton for any evacuees.

Fire crews continued to strengthen and patrol fire lines Wednesday evening. They said high temperatures were creating an extreme fire danger in the area.

Original story: The evacuation order for the town of Roosevelt, Washington, has been lifted and Highway 14 has reopened after a fast-growing wildfire bypassed the community.

Fire spokesman Ron Fryer said people are being allowed back in their homes in the Columbia River town on Wednesday afternoon. He said residents remain under notice to be able to leave quickly if conditions change.

Crews spent the day working to establish fire lines on a blaze that’s grown to 26 square miles along the eastern portion of the Columbia River Gorge.

About 300 residents of the town of Roosevelt were evacuated Tuesday evening as the blaze encroached on homes.

The Klickitat County sheriff's office issued a mandatory evacuation order for the entire town, which is about 140 miles east of Vancouver, Washington, after the fire jumped over Highway 14. Residents started to return by midday Tuesday, before the evacuation order was formally lifted.

Several structures, including barns as well as vehicles, have been burned by the fire that started Tuesday around 1 p.m. Fryer said none of the homes that were threatened in the area have burned. 

More than 100 firefighters are on the scene, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at a local school. Six Klickitat County fire departments, plus a team from the Bureau of Land Management and Washington State Air resources are fighting the fire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Fire engulfs a juniper tree near Roosevelt Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. The entire town in south central Washington was order to evacuate again Wednesday evening following a brief lift of the order earlier in the day.

Don Ryan

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