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Fire crews making good progress on Mills Canyon Fire

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ENTIAT — Fire crews made good progress over the weekend on the Mills Canyon Fire, which is now 25 percent contained.

Diminishing winds, increased humidity and more firefighters helped crews hold fire lines at Roaring Creek, about five miles west of Entiat and at Swakane Canyon to the south. The fire is estimated at 22,571 acres in size, about 35 square miles.

Possible dry lightning strikes are still in the forecast for Monday morning, but lightning and high winds forecast for Sunday night didn’t materialize.

We haven’t had the lightning that we expected, but the skies are pretty dark right now,” fire spokeswoman Laurie Dowie said in a fire update Monday morning. The National Weather Service is continuing until at least 11 a.m. today its red flag warning for extreme fire danger due to dry lightning.

A Type 1 national fire team replaced a regional team to command fire strategy Sunday morning. The switch make more resources available to fight the fire. More crews were added over the weekend, bringing the total number of firefighters to 1,041. More engines have also arrived to be stationed at residences if needed.

Flames spotted across Swakane Canyon Sunday, but crews working in tandem with helicopters dropping buckets of water quickly put them out and held the line, Dowie said.

Highway 97A from Wenatchee to Entiat is open Monday morning. Residences along Entiat River Road are still on evacuation alert and residents should be ready to leave if fire conditions change for the worse. Homes on Entiat River Road from Dinkleman Road to Roaring Creek Road are on highest evacuation notice. Also on evacuation alert are homes from Roaring Creek to Mad River Road and all of Fish Hatchery Road.

Entiat River Road is restricted to local residents only. Swakane Canyon Road and upper Burch Mountain Road are closed, as are Hay, Olalla and Nahahum canyon roads past the pavement, according to Chelan County Emergency Management.

Reach Rick Steigmeyer at 509-664-7151 or . Read his blog Winemaker's Journal or follow him on Twitter at @steigmeyerww.

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