WENATCHEE, Wash — A 3-alarm brush fire continues to burn in Chelan County Wednesday morning. The Red Apple Fire forced evacuations Tuesday night and state firefighting resources have been called to help contain the blaze.
The fire started Tuesday evening and is burning grass and sage in the 3300 block of Red Apple Road between the towns of Cashmere and Wenatchee along US 2.
The fire grew to an estimated 9,000 acres by Wednesday morning, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
Chelan County has now declared a state of emergency in response to this fire which allows officials to active local resources much more quickly. The county will also now have access to emergency funds from the state.
The fire is threatening 234 homes, orchards and a power substation. The Chelan County Emergency Management posted the following Level 3 evacuation orders for residents Wednesday:
Level 3 (7:45 a.m.): Leave now orders are in place for the east side of Burch Mountain Road to include Burch View Lane, Buck Haven Lane, Sky Crest Lane, Kimberly Court, McMullin Road, Ohme Road to include Ohme Gardens and Mountain Goat Lane due to wildfire activity. Evacuate immediately.
Level 1 (8:50 a.m.): The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office issued a Level 1 be ready fire advisory notice for all residents of Swakane Canyon.
The Washington State Department of Transportation closed a four-mile stretch of US 97A just north of Wenatchee due to fire activity Wednesday morning. Both directions of US 97A are closed between Ohme Gardens Rd. and Swakane Canyon Rd. Drivers are asked to avoid the area and use US 97 as an alternate route. There is currently no estimated time of reopening.
Maria Langer lives about 10 miles away from the fire in Malaga and said she could see the flames from her window early Wednesday morning.
“I happened to be up in the middle of the night and looked out the window and saw [the fire], and after that, there was no sleep,” Langer told KING 5.
PHOTOS: Red Apple Fire in Chelan County
The Washington State Patrol authorized state firefighting resources to mobilize Tuesday to support local firefighters working to contain the fire. The Red Cross said Wednesday morning that eight people stayed at the shelter overnight and "it will remain open as long as needed."
The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Seventh Day Adventist Church located at 508 N Western Ave. in Wenatchee for anyone needing shelter due to the fire.
Fire officials with Chelan County Fire District 6 asked people to stay out of the area Tuesday night as too much traffic on Easy Street and US 2 was making it difficult for firefighters to access the area.