LEAVENWORTH — The wildfire near Leavenworth is burning out of control right now and nearly 300 firefighters from across the state are on the front lines.
Five helicopters are working together, dropping 300 gallons of water onto the flames as hundreds of firefighters on the ground continue to dig into the dirt trying to contain the fire. It’s been a busy fire season in central Washington this summer.
“From the Colockum Tarps fire, to the Mile Post 10 fire, and now this one’s a sizeable fire in the Leavenworth area — we’ve been busy,” Rick Isaacson with the Chelan County Fire District 1 said.
Firefighters are working in steep terrain, where fire trucks and hoses can’t go while fallen trees also pose a danger. “You’ll get logs and debris that will catch on fire and it just starts a momentum and rolls down the hill starting more fire as it rolls down the hill into more debris and more brush,” Isaacson said.
Thirty homes are under Level 3 mandatory evacuations, and about 35 more families are being told to pack up and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. And Chelan County sheriff’s deputies were checking IDs of homeowners trying to get behind the roadblocks to save their property.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it could have rekindled after firefighters doused a blaze nearby last week.
“It’s a possibility,” Isaacson said. “There was a lightning strike about a week ago and the crews came in and took care of it. Sometimes — once in a great while — it gets down in the root system someplace you can’t get to and pops back up under the ideal conditions.”
A community meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cascade High School in Leavenworth where fire officials will be answering questions from the public. The Red Cross has also set up an emergency shelter at Icicle River Middle School for families that don’t have anywhere else to go.