WENATCHEE, Wash. - Many of the Level 3 evacuations for the Red Apple Fire fell to a Level 2 by Thursday in the neighborhoods threatened by the wildfire near Wenatchee.
Houses dotting the hillside appeared unscathed while the lands surrounding them were left scorched after homeowners spent a long night hoping for good news.
Homeowner Bill Bourton was one of them.
"We were a couple miles away, but we had a view of the fire," he described to Q13 News.
Bourton has been through this before. His home and hundreds of others were directly in the line of the Red Apple wildfire. The bright green grass in his backyard was a stark contrast to the scorched ground surrounding his property.
Firefighters have been battling the blaze since Tuesday. The official cause remains under investigation but it was likely sparked by an illegal burn.
By Thursday, it has burned 11,000 acres and 200 firefighters are on the ground. The firefight is also getting tremendous help from above.
"I have never seen as much air support as on this fire," said neighbor Randy Johnston.
Bourton not only has been through fires like this before, but he also was once a hotshot back in his day.
But this year feels different, he says. Hotter temperatures are lasting longer, and while wildfire is normal for this environment, Bourton says all of us should be taking the growing risk for wildfire across Washington seriously.
The crews who fighting the Red Apple Fire are taking it seriously. Bourton says it is because of their hard work his neighborhood survived.
"It’s a testament to how grateful we are and how skilled the fire professionals are here," he said.
The fire has now pushed back into remote areas, but the risk will persist.
Temperatures near Wenatchee are forecast to reach nearly 100 degrees. Paired with steady winds, conditions will be ripe to spread embers quickly.
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