Wash. gov. visits wildfire evacuees

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GOLDENDALE, Wash. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire has met with some of the residents driven from their south-central Washington homes by a wildfire near Satus Pass. She assured the group of about 50 people that the state would do everything it can to protect their homes and property despite a budget crunch.

The governor visited them Thursday night at the Klickitat County fairgrounds, where the Red Cross has set up an evacuation center under the grandstands.

The fire that started Wednesday has burned nine homes and 10 outbuildings, forcing the evacuation of about 300 people. It has charred more than 8 square miles, or 5,300 acres, north of Goldendale, Wash.

About 300 firefighters are fighting the blaze. There is no estimate on when it might be contained.