ELLENSBURG -- The Snag Canyon Fire grew beyond 3,600 acres Sunday, though the new team of state fire commanders could not give an actual tally of the new size of the fire or containment levels as darkness fell.
Burning 12 miles northeast of Ellensburg, the Snag Canyon Fire has destroyed at least eight homes, possibly twelve, according to the Kittias County Sheriff's Office.
Officials believe the fire was started by a lightning strike Saturday night on a ridge north of Ellensburg. 180 homes are in a Level Two or Three evacuation area.
Road blocks were setup three miles from the fire, with only a small number of homeowners allowed to get inside.
Robert Elliott, whose family has owned a vacation home in the fire zone for more than 40 years, was forced to watch the firefight from behind the blockade.
"At least we're seeing it with our own eyes," Elliott said from behind his set of binoculars, "We can't get a shovel, can't rent a bulldozer, but at least we're looking at it."
Red Cross staff has opened an emergency shelter at the Mercer Creek Church in Ellensburg. The Fairgrounds is open for emergency shelter for livestock and animals.