Hundreds battle central Washington wildfire

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Hundreds of firefighters battle Washington state wildfire

Hundreds of firefighters battle Washington state wildfire

Hundreds of firefighters battle Washington state wildfire

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Hundreds of firefighters battle Washington state wildfire

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ENTIAT, Wash. (AP) — Several hundred firefighters worked Friday to contain a fire that has burned grass and brush across nearly 30 square miles in central Washington.

The blaze threatened more than 200 homes and damaged a few outbuildings in Chelan County near Entiat, roughly midway between Seattle and Spokane.

Residents of several dozen homes have been told to evacuate, fire operations spokeswoman Laurie Dowie said. The fire was partially contained by Friday afternoon. Also, a stretch of highway near the blaze was temporarily closed because of firefighting work in the area.

Worried that hot, dry conditions would increase fire dangers, state officials extended an outdoor burn ban to include all 13 million acres of lands that the state protects.

A burn ban, which has already been in effect in Eastern Washington, now includes Western Washington. The ban is in effect through Sept. 30.

There have been 265 fires on state lands so far this season, scorching a total of about 19,000 acres, or roughly 30 square miles, as of Friday morning. Most of that damage has been caused by the Mills Canyon fire near Entiat, said Janet Pearce, with the Department of Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, a wildfire burning near Spokane has held at less than 2 square miles and was partially contained, spokesman Chuck Turley said Friday afternoon.

Firefighters working the blaze near Ford in Stevens County hope it doesn't flare up in the hot, dry conditions forecast for the weekend, Turley said.

"As heat hit this area, some of the areas will have a tendency to rekindle," Turley said.

The Lake Spokane campground would be closed at least through the weekend, he said.

Officials are urging people to be vigilant as hot and dry conditions increase fire risks throughout the state.

The causes for both fires are under investigation.

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