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Batterman Fire causes evacuations near town in central Washington

by Bill Gabbert, Wildfire Today |

The Batterman Fire in central Washington spread rapidly Sunday after it started at about 12:15 p.m. PDT, running through grass and brush. The fire is east of Wenatchee, Wash., about a mile east of the Pangborn Memorial Airport. It was pushed to the east by a wind that increased throughout the afternoon from the west and northwest at 15 to 22 mph after 5 p.m. while the relative humidity was in the teens and the temperature topped out at 97 degrees.

Monday morning evacuation orders (Level 3) were in effect for Rock Island Grade Road.

Helicopters and air tankers dropped water and retardant Sunday in areas inaccessible to engines. No structures had been destroyed by 8 a.m. Monday.

The Southeast Washington Type 3 Interagency Incident Management Team led by Incident Commander Walter Escobar assumed command of the incident Sunday night. Firefighters worked through the night on structure protection and to secure the perimeter near Rock Island Road.

More firefighting resources from out of the area were expected to arrive Monday, when high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds were set to combine forces.