Washington wildfires
4:15 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Evacuees sent home as crews get upper hand on monastery fire

Fire crews battling the Monastery Fire north of Goldendale, Wash., say they're gaining the upper hand. All they need now are a few more windless days.

The 42-hundred acre fire has already consumed 24 homes in the area. Crews say they're halfway to containing the blaze. More than a thousand firefighters have been called out to the incident.

In a break from protocol, the Red Cross shelter and base camp for fire operations are set up at the same location. Both are on the Klickitat County Fairgrounds. Incident team spokesman Dale Warriner says that's created an unusual degree of proximity between fire crews and evacuees.

“We've been interacting with them quite frequently and it's a very humbling experience. People who've possibly lost everything they have and they still try to be positive. It's just very heartwarming to experience that,” Warriner says.

Evacuees got word Monday that they could return to their homes, he adds, but the Klickitat County Sheriff has instructed them to remain on alert.

Fire roundup

In Oregon, officials monitoring the Mount Hood fire over the weekend discovered a new start near Bagby Hot Springs. Crews were deployed to keep the fire from advancing on the popular destination. In Idaho, fire managers are still trying to get a handle on the Saddle Complex, burning 30-thousand acres northwest of Salmon on the Montana border.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network