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Wash. Fires Force Home Evacuations

July 29, 1998

BICKLETON, Wash. (AP) _ Fire swept through 4,000 acres of grass and timber in south-central Washington state on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of about 70 homes.

The blaze destroyed about 15 buildings, including several outbuildings and likely a few homes in Klickitat County, said John Bergvall, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources.

The fire, which was reported Monday, quadrupled in size Tuesday, fueled by gusty winds and temperatures in the 100s, Bergvall said.

Some 280 state and local firefighters were battling the fire near the towns of Cleveland and Bickleton, which have about 60 homes total.

Those homes were evacuated Monday evening and early Tuesday, and another 11 homes south of Cleveland were evacuated Tuesday afternoon when winds caused the blaze to jump fire lines, Bergvall said.

The blaze was about 40 percent contained Tuesday evening, with no estimate on when it might be fully contained.

Several smaller fires also were burning in the northern half of the state.

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