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Wildfire prompts evacuations in Washington state

A wildfire burned on a hillside above stopped rail cars near Othello, Wash., early on Sunday.
A wildfire burned on a hillside above stopped rail cars near Othello, Wash., early on Sunday.Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

OTHELLO, Wash. — Evacuations were ordered Sunday as a wildfire threatened homes and crops in rural Washington.

The state fire marshal’s office said one home and one outbuilding were lost. It estimated the size of the fire at nearly 16 square miles.

Residents of about 30 houses in Adams County were told to leave immediately.

Ben Shearer, a spokesman for the Southeast Washington Incident Management Team, said rain was helping but wind and ample grass and brush could help the fire spring back.

Shearer said crews were out Sunday to map the fire and get a better handle on the damage.

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The cause of the fire, which began Saturday afternoon, was under investigation.

In Montana over the weekend, a wildfire cut off the return route for dozens of people staying in a Glacier National Park chalet, park officials said. Rangers had to lead people out of backcountry campsites near fires that broke out after a lightning storm on Thursday.

It’s peak tourist season at the Montana park, and the stone chalet, built more than a century ago, is a top attraction.

A lightning strike ignited a fire in the forest somewhere between the lodge and the chalet. Neither structure was threatened, but park officials determined it was unsafe for those at the chalet to return by the same trail.

Dozens of fires are burning across the West, and federal and state fire managers raised the National Fire Preparedness Level to Level 5, its highest point, on Friday.

Level 5 signals most firefighting resources are being used and that aid may be needed from the military. The level was last raised to 5 in 2015.

In Oregon, a fire at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation destroyed two houses and threatened dozens of others.

The fire had burned more than 30 square miles by last week.

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Smoke from the wildfires made the moon appear yellow.
Smoke from the wildfires made the moon appear yellow.Ted S. Warren/Associated Press