Wildfire in central Washington explodes overnight, forcing hundreds of evacuations

The Evans Canyon fire burning in Yakima County exploded overnight and has burned almost 13,000 acres as of Wednesday morning. 

Yakima County emergency management officials say the fire is 0 percent contained and spreading into neighboring Kittitas County. 

A number of structures have burned in the fire, officials said, though it's unclear exactly how many are homes. As of Wednesday morning, 430 homes were in the evacuation area. 

"These are difficult times for our community, we appreciate everyone’s willingness to work together and keep each other safe," Yakima Valley Emergency Management said on its Facebook page. "Yesterday was a solemn reminder of the dangers of wild fires here in Yakima County, many homes were lost to the fire and many people lives will be forever changed. Today starts the healing process which takes a community, please reach out to your friends and family affected by this fire and make sure they are ok and help them as much as you can."

The fire sparked Monday afternoon north of Selah. So far, no injuries have been reported. 

Roughly 300 firefighters are on the frontlines, but with low humidity and gusty winds in the forecast Wednesday, containing the fire will be difficult. 

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have closed all recreation areas within the SR-821 Yakima Canyon corridor. 

All campgrounds in the canyon are closed, and the Sheriff’s Office has posted closure notices at all river access points along the canyon in an effort to keep the public safe from the encroaching fire. 

The public is advised to stay off the Yakima River until further notice.The Sheriff’s Office is also working closely with Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue (KVFR) on contingency plans for the SR-821 corridor should the fire threaten the canyon.

Air quality in Yakima County is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Children, older adults, and individuals with heart or lung disease should remain indoors as much as possible. Click here for more information on how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke.