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Structures in Broadview torched by Sleepy Hollow fire

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6/28/2015 World photo/Don Seabrook A house is completely engulfed in flames near Horse Lake Road in Wenatchee Sunday night as a brush fire spread from Monitor and into neighborhoods on the outskirts of Wenatchee.

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UPDATE 12:40 A.M. MONDAYThe count of burned houses and structures near the Broadview area has risen to 12 and possibly more, said emergency management specialist Rich Magnussen. Firefighting crews are also continuing to monitor homes on the north side of No. 2 Canyon as the fire progresses. 

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: The Sleepy Hollow fire sped toward homes in Wenatchee’s northwestern Broadview neighborhood and set two structures ablaze about 8:30 p.m.

Fifteen minutes later that reported number had tripled to six as firefighters and police worked to save homes and urge residents to flee.

The subdivision was last threatened by fire in the lightning-sparked 2012 Canyons Fire incident, which blackened the sagebrush but did not destroy any homes there.

A Red Cross shelter has been established at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 508 N. Western Ave.

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UPDATE 7:45 p.m.: At 7 p.m. the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office broadened Level 2 evacuation status to include all properties from the end of the pavement on Horselake Road south to Maiden Lane, including the outlying residences in the Broadview subdivision.

Level 2 notifications advise all residents to be prepared to flee their homes at a moment’s notice.

UPDATE 6:55 p.m.: One barn and two outbuildings have burned and Horse Lake Road is now closed to through traffic after the Sleepy Hollow fire crested the ridge and began burning toward the south.

Homes remain unaffected, said Chelan County emergency management specialist Rich Magnussen, and the two helicopters performing water drops earlier have been joined by a third. 

Magnussen said despite their Level 3 evacuation status, some residents in Sleepy Hollow Heights have chosen not to leave their homes and to try to counteract the fire should it approach.

We can’t force them. Washington state law does not allow us to force people to leave,” he said.

Bill Pershall owns a Horse Lake Road orchard that lies in the fire’s current path. He said he has sprinklers going to try to damp down the fruit trees and the tinder-dry brush beyond.

I figure when it hits the trees it will stop, and just burn the trees on the outside,” he said.

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UPDATE 6:30 pm.: Level 3 evacuation notices have now been extended to the homes in the former Level 2 area — from Sleepy Hollow Road to the railroad tracks.

Level 3 is the highest level of emergency evacuation notice. Residents in the zone should leave their homes immediately.

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MONITOR — Authorities ordered Level 3 evacuation notices for 49 homes in Sleepy Hollow Heights after a fire broke out near Sleepy Hollow Road about 2:15 p.m. Sunday.

The Level 3 notice urges homeowners to abandon their properties and flee while they can. Homes from Sleepy Hollow Heights west to Richared Road were placed on Level 2 warnings, meaning residents should be prepared to escape at a moment’s notice.

Several people said it came real close to them,” said Rich Magnussen, emergency management specialist with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. “In talking to the residents, the flames were lapping up to the structure as they were leaving.”

No structures had burned as of 5:30 p.m., and the geographic size of the fire wasn’t immediately known. 

Crews and trucks from seven Chelan County fire districts and three in Douglas County responded, and aerial bucket drops were underway by early evening. Sleepy Hollow Road is closed from west of the railroad track to Richared Road, except for local residents.

The cause of the fire was not certain. It erupted near Sleepy Hollow Road’s intersection with Sleepy Hollow Heights Road, just as temperatures in the Wenatchee Valley crested to 108 degrees at early afternoon.

The Sleepy Hollow Heights neighborhood lies on the south side of the Wenatchee River, just southeast of Monitor. Two helicopters were dropping water by 5:30 p.m., one  from a contract service, the other from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Residents in the Level 2 zone expressed minimal concern that their property might be harmed. Marilyn Peet of Wenatchee owns a cherry orchard within the area.

All the fruit is off, and that’s what is important,” she said.

I’m not worried — yet,” said her daughter, resident Kelli Keen.

Even if the flames should descend to his house on Sleepy Hollow Road, John Barker said, “”My homeowner’s is paid up.”

A Red Cross shelter is planned but not yet established in Wenatchee, for evacuees seeking to bed down or rest, Magnussen said. The Chelan County Expo Center Fairgrounds is open for residents to house their large animals, but owners must provide their own feed and water.

Most animals had already been cleared from the affected neighborhood by evening, Magnussen said.

Reach Dee Riggs at 509-664-7147 or .

Reach Jefferson Robbins at 509-664-7123 or . Follow him on Twitter at @JRobbinsWW. Contact him securely by PGP key.