Umatilla fire forces nearly 40 families to evacuate - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Umatilla fire forces nearly 40 families to evacuate

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UMATILLA, Ore -- Nearly 40 families are told to evacuate their homes as a forest fire breaks out in Umatilla.

The fire broke out around 2:30 at Highway 730 and Highway 395. Fire officials say they were called out to a brush fire but when they arrived - it was more of a forest fire. It burned over 10 acres and took more than 3 hours to put out. Fire chief, Mike Roxbury says the flames were driven by winds clocked at more than 40miles per hour. The other problem - this area hasn't burned in a long time.

"It was heavily over grown with dead blackberry bushes that are piles the size of the house. The whole area was full of these blackberry bushes and they are just thick dense piles that the air and the fire could more through really fast," said Roxbury.

After the fire calmed down, people were allowed back into their homes. Chief Roxbury says the fire burned up to the houses but because of the green space around the homes it ran out of fuel. Which is why he wants to remind people to water and trim plants close to your home and pick up any tree branches or leaves.