Pilot survives helicopter crash at growing wildfire near Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — A helicopter pilot fighting a wildfire in eastern Washington walked away from a crash landing Monday.

Heather Lee of Walla Walla County Emergency Management told the Union-Bulletin the helicopter suffered a mechanical failure.

Fire officials say the wildfire has burned about 3,500 acres and destroyed one structure. It is located 9 miles east of Walla Walla near Blue Creek and Klicker Mountain.

Renae Crippen of the Blue Mountain Interagency Fire Center says the cause of the Blue Creek Fire that started just before 1 p.m. Monday is unknown.

No injuries have been reported, but more structures may be threatened. She had not been told what kind of structure had burned and was not aware of any evacuations in the path of the fire.

Fire crews are attacking the blaze from the air with multiple air tankers and helicopters.

Crippen says her center in eastern Washington is getting reports of new brush fires daily.

About 50 homes in the area were briefly evacuated Monday afternoon. The cause of the fire is under investigation.