Wildfire briefly closes US 97, forces evacuations

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- A wildfire that is threatening about 30 homes also disrupted traffic on U.S. Highway 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish in south-central Washington.

A six-mile stretch of highway was closed for more than two hours Wednesday afternoon before traffic flow resumed, initially with pilot cars to lead vehicles through the area.

Jim Duck of the state Department of Natural Resource told the Yakima Herald-Republic (http://bit.ly/riK3qF) that the fire is burning in a forested area near Brooks Memorial State Park, about 3 miles west of the Satus Pass summit.

Residents on Satus Pass are being evacuated. Firefighters from the state and Klickitat County are battling the blaze.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for high wildfire danger over most of Washington's Cascades and Olympics through Wednesday night because of warm, dry conditions. Helicopters dropped water on a nearly 400-acre fire in a remote part of the Brothers Wilderness Area on the Olympic Peninsula.