Columbia Complex Evacuees Could get Back in by Saturday - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Complex Evacuees Could get Back in by Saturday

Posted: Updated:

DAYTON, Wash.- The Columbia Complex fire is quickly approaching 80,000 acres, but is now 25 percent contained.

The Columbia Complex fire remains the nation's number one wildfire priority.

It's already cost taxpayers nearly $10 million, and rising temperatures aren't expected to help the situation.

The firelines are still advancing east, but with nearly 1,400 people on the scene to fight the blaze, they're gaining more control over it, but the potential for more fire on the eastern edge is still extreme, especially as it burns through the forest. However, officials say some evacuees may be able to get back in their homes as early as tomorrow.

"Opening up the North Touchet and the Wolf Creek roads. We hope to do that in the next day or so. We just want to make sure it's safe before we let people back in there permanently," said Tom Knappenberger, a Fire Information Officer. 

Even if some evacuations are lifted, Knappenberger said there will still be more than 100 engines stationed in the area to protect cabins that are still threatened by the fire.

Firefighters said so far they aren't fighting the part of the fire that's entered the Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/