Evacuations ordered as brush fire threatens Washington state town

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 20, 2015 6:05 PM

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Wind-swept flames from a brush fire in eastern Washington state that erupted over the weekend have leapt across a major U.S. interstate, forcing officials to close the highway and order residents to flee dozens of homes, police said on Monday.

The wildfire has blackened at least 400 acres (162 hectares) of parched brush since it broke out Sunday, and firefighters battled overnight to contain the flames, Grant County Sheriff's Office spokesman Kyle Foreman said.

Despite their efforts, winds carried flames across Interstate 90 on Monday afternoon and officials closed the highway in two places near the town of George, which has about 500 residents, in an area hugging the Columbia River, Foreman said.

Officials ordered residents in about three dozen homes to leave the area due to approaching flames, Foreman said.

There were no reports of injury, he added.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Eric Walsh)