Leavenworth residents worry about fast-growing wildfire

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LEAVENWORTH — The Eagle Fire continues to burn in the hills above Leavenworth, threatening some homes. So dozens of people showed up at a community meeting Wednesday night hoping to find out more about how the firefight is going.

smoke“I looked at the map today,” resident Michael Sutton said. “This fire, the way the crow flies, is two miles from me.”

Thirty homes have already been evacuated, and warnings have already gone out to another 35. The Suttons are getting ready, in case they’re next.

“I worry about my wife, my granddaughter, we just bought land up the Chumstick two years ago.”

Although this fire started and grew to 1,500 acres quickly, Sutton said he’s not really surprised. He said this area of the state is prone to wildfires.

“You can see the brown trees, those are the pine beetles that have moved into this area,” he said. “We’ve got the pine beetles, it’s dry, it’s been hot.”

That’s why there have already been several fires this season. Many of the firefighters on the Eagle Fire were on the nearby Colockum Tarps and Mile Post 10 fires earlier this month.

“It’s been busy,” says fire information officer Rick Scriven. ”When Mother Nature comes into play sometimes, that’s what happens. You go and try and manage and mitigate.”

The terrain in the area is steep, so firefighters spent much of the day doing air drops, and starting fire lines to try and keep the fire from spreading. Sutton is hoping crews will start to get control before his home is in danger. But he understands that living here means there’s always a risk.

“Wildfires are just Mother Nature’s way of saying we got all this dead stuff; it’s time to clean it up.”

A Red Cross evacuation center has been set up at Icicle River Middle School in Leavenworth for anyone who has been displaced by the fire.

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