Central Washington wildfire burns an area the size of Bellingham (PHOTOS)

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CHELAN COUNTY — Firefighters are making some progress on a massive wildfire about two miles east of Entiat in Chelan County, reported Q13 FOX News in Seattle.

The Mills Canyon Fire has burned more than 18,000 acres, an area bigger than the size of Bellingham.

Officials said the fire was about 19-percent contained Friday morning.

Evacuations and road closures

A level 3 evacuation is in place for Roaring Creek Road. A level 1 evacuation is in place for 109 structures along Highway 97A between Entiat River Road and Swakane Canyon Road.

Authorities closed Highway 97A in both directions from Wenatchee to Entiat after the fire reached the road. There is no estimate for when the road could reopen. Drivers can use Highway 2 on the east side of the Columbia River as a detour.

Weather condtions

The humidity was high Friday morning which helped slow the fire, but firefighter expected that to change as temperatures heated up. Heavy smoke is blanketing the region.

About 650 firefighters are at the scene including air support and hot-shot crews on the ground.

“We need firefighters on the ground digging some trail and doing some burn out and using air support to help us check this fire,” said incident spokesperson Nick Mickel.  “We have a long way to go.”

Incident commanders say they planned to focus on the northern perimeter of the fire, an area with steep rocky terrain. Firefighters are scouting the southern portion of the fire to find safe access routes.

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