Fire crews use explosives to build fire break on central Wash. wildfire

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) – Crews have been forced to use explosives to build a fire break in a hard-to-access section of a fast-growing wildfire in central Washington state.

The lightning-caused fire near Ellensburg has grown to nearly 14 square miles and is just 15 percent contained. It’s being fought by more than 700 people. It has burned six homes and 13 other buildings.

A fire official says the blasting in the rocky terrain at the northwest end of the fire Friday was used to create the type of fire break that fire crews typically create by hand.

Smoke from a new fire in central Washington near Cle Elum was visible Friday from Interstate 90. That fire started Thursday and has grown to about 400 acres. It was not seriously threatening any homes.

More than 100 miles to the northeast, a wildfire burning on the Colville Reservation has grown to 16 square miles. It’s just 2 percent contained. Residents of about 40 homes have been told to leave and the fire threatens dozens of other homes.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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