Correction: The orientation of the Wild Horse wind farm to Vantage was incorrect in the original version of this story. The error has been corrected in this version.
WENATCHEE — More than 400 of the 570 fire personnel battling the 72,000-acre Colockum Tarps Fire are heading today to Kittitas County where the fire is threatening homes.
The fire was reported at around 8 a.m. Saturday near the junction of Colockum Pass and Tarpiscan roads. After blackening a large swath of southern Chelan County, destroying four homes and heavily damaging one, the fire has spread to the southwest, fire spokesman Jeff Sevigney said this morning.
Mop up and patrols will continue in Chelan County, but spot fires here are not spreading, Sevigney said. The fire’s cause is still under investigation.
More then 100 residences in the Kittitas County areas of Parke Creek and Cooke Canyon have been issued the highest — Level 3 — evacuation orders.
The community of Vantage is not in danger, Sevigney said. The Grant County PUD has closed its Columbia River boat launch at Vantage until fire danger eases.
Flames are still several miles from the town of Kittitas.
Flames Wednesday evening approached the northernmost border of Puget Sound Energy’s Wild Horse wind farm northeast of Vantage, but haven’t damaged equipment there, a company spokesman said this morning.
The fire personnel moving today from Chelan County to Kittitas County include two hot shot crews from Oregon and the Entiat Hot Shots.
Helicopters will continue working the fire from there, along with two big air tankers and two smaller tankers.
The fire’s 72,000-acre size is up from the 66,000 acres at last estimate, Sevigney said, but it isn’t thought to have grown much overnight. Better fire mapping is expected later today, visibility permitting.
That could change today, with thunderstorms and slightly stronger winds in the forecast, he said.
Bulldozers and the hot shots will work today to get a line around the fire’s active southwest flank, Sevigney said.