Highway 97 closed near 2,000-acre wildfire at Satus Pass

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YAKIMA — U.S. Route 97 was closed Thursday in both directions near the top of Satus Pass between Goldendale, Wash., and Toppenish as forest fires burned close to the roadway.

The first has grown to 2,000 acres, Klickitat County Emergency Management said.

Klickitat County declared a state of emergency and some evacuations have been ordered, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Crews battled the fire that burned on the Yakima Reservation. The blaze was not contained at all, Department of Natural Resource officials said, and crews were attacking the blaze both on the ground and through the air.

The blaze was reported shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday near the summit of Satus Pass, the 3,107-foot mountain pass. Smoke and fire could be seen from the Yakima Valley Wednesday evening. Firefighters from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Natural Resources are on scene.

There was no word on when the roadway would reopen.  Officials encouraged drivers to find alternative routes.

The last major fire near Satus Pass in 2011 burned more than 100 buildings and 3,600 acres.

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