Over the weekend the wildfire burning near Goldendale, in southeast Washington, grew to more than 17,000 acres. Firefighters are battling flames in grass, brush and timber. So far, no homes have burned, but the fire has closed a highway that runs between the towns of Toppenish and Goldendale. The blaze called the Mile Marker 28 fire is moving toward the town of Bickelton, Washington and is about 25 percent contained. More than 1,200 firefighters are working about 78 miles of fire line. Steve Derry is a fire crew chief. He was just getting ready to head back out.
Derry: “Yeah, you know there is a lot of steep terrain, you know last night it was really smoky, so we didn’t get any good fresh air. It’s just your standard firefighting. It’s steep, it’s rugged, it’s a good time, it’s good for ya.”
Conditions are tinder dry and hot in southeast Washington right now, although cooler temperatures are helping crews. Firefighters recently flew over the blaze collecting infrared images to better see how and where the fire is going.
A plume of smoke from the Mile Marker 28 fire rises nearby base camp for the firefighters in Goldendale, Wash.
Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio