Wildfire threatens Washington homes

MASON COUNTY, Wash. (KING)- A 150-acre brush fire burning in Mason County, Washington now threatens over 100 homes and power lines in the Rainbow Lake area, just north of Shelton.

While fire crews rush to contain the flames, officials have evacuated about roughly a dozen homes in the Johns Creek area and more residents are on standby.

Chief Deputy Dean Byrd with the Mason County Sheriff's Office said every available fire district is fighting the fast-growing fire, which is not contained and has sent giant plumes of smoke into the air.

"It's going to be a challenge," said Byrd.

The fire started around 2 p.m. near Mason Lake Road and McQuinn/Prairie Road and quickly grew.

A sheriff's spokesman said the threat to homes have "subsided," but that could change if the winds change direction.

In addition to homes, the fire also threatened a number of power lines, prompting crews with BPA and the Department of Natural Resources to aid in the firefight.

Mason County officials were also asking Thurston and Kitsap counties for help.

Fire crews were sending bulldozers to create fire lines and fire choppers were dumping 300-gallon buckets of water from nearby Rainbow Lake on the fire's hot spots in an effort to douse the flames.

Some residents evacuated, while others opted to stay put.

Some turned on the sprinklers on their roofs and hoped for the best.

"My heart was pounding. It seems like I couldn't get here fast enough," said Mike Lucas, who rushed home when he got a call from his wife. The Lucases packed up some of their belongings and left the area.

The state lands commissioner said Washington hasn't seen wildfire conditions like this in October in a lifetime.

That's why the state has extended the statewide burn ban until October 15.

Meanwhile, a red flag warning remains in effect on the west side of the Cascades.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for critical fire danger Thursday and Friday.

Forecasters expect dry east winds to last through Saturday afternoon.


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