UPDATE: US 97 Still Closed Due to Wildfire Near Satus Pass - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: US 97 Still Closed Due to Wildfire Near Satus Pass

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UPDATE: GOLDENDALE, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Transportation says US 97 over Satus Pass will not reopen today due to heavy smoke and poor visibility.

WSDOT, Washington State Patrol and fire officials are continually reevaluating conditions. Crews will not reopen the highway until it is safe for travel.

The fire is located 15 miles northeast of Goldendale, Washington along Highway 97 and is burning in grasslands, shrub brush, timber, and timber litter.

Right now more than 1100 personnel are battling the fire, which has burned more than 17000 acres.  Officials said a total of 144 structures have been evacuated, 69 of those structures are residential buildings. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and remains under investigation.

 

Previous Coverage:

GOLDENDALE, Wash.-- Klickitat County has declared a "State Of Emergency."

The "Mile Marker 28 Fire" along Highway 97 near Goldendale is getting larger.  Ed Powell, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Klickitat County said they've exhausted all local resources and need back-up.

Powell said 800 firefighters are working together, but that number could shoot up to 1,100 by the end of the day.

"We're doing everything we can to protect their property and their safety, and we'll do everything we need to do with resources to do that," said Powell.

Crews said the fire doubled in size on Thursday and is around 4,646 acres. It's only 3 percent contained.

There's a mandatory evacuation order that extends from the fire line south to Township 5, Range 17E, Section 20-24. The only areas where the west side of US-97 is affected is from Satus Pass to the southern entrance of Satus Loop Road (approximately milepost 24).

Erratic winds drove the fire toward the east and southeast forcing evacuations of an additional 150 structures, bringing the total to approximately 180. 

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

The Red Cross Shelter has been set up at Our Father's House Fellowship located in Goldendale at 207 South Klickitat Street.  You can call for information on the shelter at: (888) 680-1455 24-hrs.

A Community Meeting has been planned for Saturday, July 27, beginning at 7:00 PM at the Klickitat PUD Meeting Room located at 1313 Columbus in Goldendale.  Fire officials and other agency representatives will update the public on the current fire situation and evacuation notices.

 

GOLDENDALE, Wash. - The Department of Natural Resources says the wildfire burning near Satus Pass has now doubled in size to about 4,600 acres.

Firefighters say they're still trying to build containment lines around the 7 square miles of fire burning through grass, brush and timber.  

The Washington state Department of Transportation has closed most of Highway 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish due to smoke and the danger of debris rolling off steep hillsides.  

A DNR spokesperson says one structure, not necessarily a home, has been lost in the fire. The spokesperson says about 30 homes in the area are threatened, and several people have evacuated.

Firefighters say the fire conditions remain extreme.

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