Officials: Wenatchee blaze that destroyed 29 homes was human-caused; fire now 83% contained

Officials rule out natural causes in Wenatchee blaze

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — Firefighters attacked hotspots Wednesday at a wildfire that has destroyed nearly 30 homes in the central Washington city of Wenatchee. By Wednesday evening, a fire spokesman said the blaze was 83 percent contained.

Earlier in the day, a Chelan County sheriff's spokesman said the fire was likely human-caused. Investigators have ruled out any natural causes, such as lightning. But they're still looking into whether the fire was set on purpose or by accident.

Officials say the blaze that started Sunday has scorched about 2,950 acres, or about 4 ½ square miles, in the city about 150 miles west of Seattle. They said 29 homes were destroyed and four business complexes in the commercial area were damaged to varying degrees.

Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz also announced he's signing a declaration to ban fireworks within the city limits through July 4.

Chelan County commissioners have also declared the county a hazardous fire area, which prohibits outdoor burning and the use of fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county.

About 30 miles southeast of Wenatchee, a new wildfire charred more than 3 square miles of dry sagebrush and grass near the city of Quincy, burning some outbuildings and forcing about two dozen residents to temporarily flee their homes.