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Central Washington Firefighters Hope To Switch From Defense To Offense

Anna King
Northwest News Network
Fire spokesman Brian Lawatch on duty at base camp for the Reach Complex firefighting operation near Chelan, Washington.

More than 700 firefighters are attacking fires in Central Washington. The "Reach Complex" fires have forced evacuations, burned at least 25 structures and surrounded the popular vacation area of Lake Chelan.

Fire information officer Brian Lawatch says the first few days of the firefight were a defensive operation.

"We were able to drop some retardant along some areas and save some homes," he said. "But we weren't able to get everywhere. And so some places burned, unfortunately."

But Sunday he was hoping lighter winds and cooler temperatures would help.

"We can go form more of a defensive mode to an offensive mode," he said. "We can start getting in some anchor points and start digging in line from there and getting some containment around these fires."

Lawatch says the fire destroyed buildings on the southern side of the town of Chelan. The Reach Complex fires were started by lightning Friday.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.