Firefighters contain blaze southwest of Rufus

FIRE blackened the hills south of Rufus Monday night, burning to the edge of town.

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FIRE blackened the hills south of Rufus Monday night, burning to the edge of town.

A wildfire with unknown origins sparked Monday night southwest of Rufus and led to the evacuation of 280 residents and a power outage.

According to the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office, the blaze started about 9:30 p.m. June 25 and came right up to some homes.

It was largely contained and evacuation orders lifted for about 280 people Tuesday morning.

Officials said residents used their garden hoses to start spraying water and wet down the area behind their residences and assisted elderly residents with the evacuations.

North Sherman County Rural Fire District firefighters were assisted in beating back the flames by Morrow County Fire, S. Sherman County Fire and Rescue, North Gilliam County Fire, South Gilliam County Fire, Klickitat County Fire, Rural 7 from Goldendale and Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue.

Nine utility poles burned and about 300 customers were reported to be without power in Rufus and Biggs Junction.

The exact acreage of the wildlfire had not yet been estimated as of press time Tuesday and it was reported by Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey as being 95 percent contained.

Wildfire season is underway with the Boxcar Fire burning southeast of Maupin now 60 percent contained. Flames had consumed 950,000 acres as of press time Tuesday, almost quadrupling in size since Saturday.

The Boxcar Fire was one of 70 started by lightning strikes June 20 and 21.

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