Dry Creek Complex fires keep raging - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Dry Creek Complex fires keep raging

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NEAR SUNNYSIDE--The brush fires along State Routes 24 and 241 continue to rage.  Firefighters say containment is nowhere in sight.

Crews are battling two fires that have scorched roughly 40,000 acres of land throughout Yakima and Benton counties so far.

Lightning strikes sparked several fires that have been raging for days.

Two of the largest, the Black Rock and Midway fires, have combined.  Rescue crews say the Dry Creek Complex could burn into next week.

"The fire is zero percent contained," Elizabeth Smith, Benton County Emergency Services, said.  "The good thing is that the winds are dying down.  They're about 17-18 miles per hour so the wind is getting better; it's not going to be as hot."

More than 250 firefighters have battled flames so far, with more on the way.

But, it's not just firefighters.  Neighbors like Paul Tilley are also out helping and defending their property.

"The flames were about anywhere between 8 and 11 feet tall," Tilley said of a hotspot that threatened his home off of State Route 24 on Friday night.  "I thought for sure it was going to jump.  All I could think was, 'it's too big for these little sprinklers, so I backed up and got a bigger hose."

Firefighters advised Tilley to evacuate.   But, he and his friend weren't going anywhere.

"We've got too much to lose and not enough to replace it with," Tilley said.  "So we decided to stick around."

So far, Tilley's home has escaped damage.

But, the Silver Dollar Cafe down the road is another story.

Witnesses say employees were inside cooking when neighbors noticed fire at the back door.  Everyone got out safely.

On State Route 241, a Department of Transportation crew has been on site since Friday night.  They're working to reopen the road after flames destroyed a wooden bridge there.

"Right now it's kind of hard with us working and with the fire department we're trying not to hamper them getting back and forth," DOT Lead Technician Larry Kukis said.

That's a tough task with hot spots all around, but Kukis expects they'll be finished by Monday.

The road may remain closed until the fire's better contained.

Crews  have no time frame on when that might be.

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