Mandatory evacuation order lifted near Goldendale fire

GOLDENDALE, Wash. -- The Klickitat County Sheriff's Office lifted its mandatory evacuation order near the wildfire burning more than 35 square miles northeast of Goldendale.

The level-three evacuation, which is an immediate order to leave, was lifted south of the Mile Marker 28 Fire on Monday. No structures have been damaged by the fire.

Highway 97 remains closed between Toppenish and Goldendale. It's unclear when the highway will reopen.

The fire is 40 percent contained, according to Randy Shepard with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. More than 1,300 firefighters are working to connect the fire lines.

The biggest threat is on the east end of the fire, Shepard said.

The Red Cross shut down its shelter in Goldendale after the sheriff's office reduced the evacuation levels.

While some residents of the area are able to return home, the firefighters, which have set up their base camp at Goldendale High School, are still carrying on.

There are more than 1,300 personnel at the base camp.

"Our teams are very skilled in putting together these little cities so people's needs are cared for, and they're as comfortable as can be working 14-16 hours a day," said Randy Shepard, Public Information Officer at the Washington Intern Agency.

The slight drop in temperature has been a big help in allowing the firefighters to gain control of the fire. Currently there 30 crews and 5 hotshot crews battling the fire.

If weather permits, they expect to have it contained later this week.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.