Colockum Tarps Wildfire grows to 20,000 acres

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FireWENATCHEE, Wash. — The fast-moving Colockum Tarps Fire near the town of Malaga grew to 20,000 acres in size Monday, with huge plumes of smoke visible in the sky from as far away as Yakima.

Officials said the fire that started at 8 a.m. Saturday was only 5 percent contained on Monday. About 60 residents in the area were under Level 3 evacuation notices as three houses and several outbuildings burned down Sunday. Other Level 2 and Level 1 evacuation notices were issued for homes in the Lower Colockum area.

Fire officials could not estimate when the fire would be contained, and said high winds and dry conditions exacerbated control problems. Firefighters focused their efforts on containment lines to the North and West perimeter of the fire to best protect homes in the area. Late afternoon winds were expected to push the fire downhill and to the south, further threatening homes.

As many as 59 fire engines and five helicopters were in use to fight the blaze fed by grass and timber.  More than 300 firefighters fought the fire.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Bureau of Land Management and other state and local law enforcement personnel worked to extinguish the fire.

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