Flames quickly tear through homes in Washington state

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Wildfire Burns at Least a Dozen Homes in Washington State

SEATTLE (AP) -- A wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into a central Washington neighborhood, destroying properties and forcing residents of several hundred homes to flee, authorities said Monday.

The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee on Sunday afternoon, quickly burning out of control and also leading some businesses about 120 miles east of Seattle to evacuate customers, authorities said.

Rainfall Monday provided some relief, but hot, dry conditions will challenge crews trying to get a handle on the flames that burned 24 structures, including homes, officials said.

Albert Rookard, who lives across the Wenatchee River from the blaze, said he stayed up late watching the fire, shocked at how fast it grew.

"From here, we could see embers just flying," Rookard said. "There was fire in so many places. We could see emergency vehicles flashing across town."

Evacuations were mainly in the north end of town and included a Walmart store, according to the Chelan County Emergency Management office. The store did not burn, but several commercial buildings were near the blaze, Washington State Patrol Trooper Darren Wright said.

There have been no immediate reports of injuries.

Dominick Bonny, who lives just outside Wenatchee, called the speed of the blaze "just mind-blowing."

"We're fine now," Bonny said. "Last night we watched the entire hill burn."

See pictures of the Wenatchee wildfires:

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Flames quickly tear through homes in Washington state
Julie Smith, right, embraces her neighbor Renee Monson as they stand near the remains of Smith's home, destroyed in a wildfire the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Vern Smith walks through the rubble of his still smoldering home, destroyed in a wildfire the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Vern Smith, right, embraces his son Spencer, 13, as daughter Mary, 17, stands with them and his wife, Julie, joins them in front of the remains of their fire-destroyed home Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Vern Smith, right, looks across at the rubble of his home, destroyed in a wildfire the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Tom Bryant describes the fire that destroyed his home the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Maureen Bryant walks past the remains of her home, destroyed in a wildfire a night earlier, and in view of blackened hills beyond as she calls out for her missing cat Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Maureen Bryant looks over the remains of her home, destroyed in a wildfire a night earlier, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Vern Smith picks through the rubble of his home, destroyed in a wildfire the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into town Sunday afternoon. The blaze ignited in brush just outside Wenatchee, quickly burning out of control. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
In this Sunday, June 28, 2015 photo provided by The Wenatchee World, U.S. Forest Service fire fighters from Leavenworth cut brush near houses in northern Wenatchee, Wash. A wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into a central Washington neighborhood, destroying properties and forcing residents of several hundred homes to flee, authorities said Monday.(Don Seabrook/The Wenatchee World via AP) 
In this Sunday, June 28, 2015 photo provided by The Wenatchee World, a Douglas County fire fighter sprays down the back of a home in Wenatchee, Wash., trying to protect it from burning embers flying off of a neighboring house on fire. A wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into a central Washington neighborhood, destroying properties and forcing residents of several hundred homes to flee, authorities said Monday. (Don Seabrook/The Wenatchee World via AP)
In this Sunday, June 28, 2015 photo provided by The Wenatchee World, a Chelan County Sheriff's deputy races to check that all residents have left their home as flames approach houses at Quail Hollow Lane in Wenatchee, Wash. A wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into the central Washington neighborhood, destroying properties and forcing residents of several hundred homes to flee, authorities said Monday. (Don Seabrook/The Wenatchee World via AP)
In this Sunday, June 28, 2015 photo provided by The Wenatchee World, Forest Service fire fighters from Leavenworth watch as a house burns in northern Wenatchee, Wash. A wildfire fueled by high temperatures and strong winds roared into a central Washington neighborhood, destroying properties and forcing residents of several hundred homes to flee, authorities said Monday. (Don Seabrook/The Wenatchee World via AP)
Flames and smoke from one of several warehouses on fire, thought to have been sparked by embers from a wildfire that hit homes on a nearby hillside, rises from the collapsed structure Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought, destroying dozens of structures and forcing hundreds to flee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The foundation and chimneys from a destroyed home continue to smolder following a wildfire the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought, destroying dozens of structures and forcing hundreds to flee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The foundation and chimneys from a destroyed home continue to smolder from a wildfire that raced through the area the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought, destroying dozens of structures and forcing hundreds to flee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A firefighter pulls a hose next to one of several still-smoldering warehouses that burned, thought to have been sparked by embers from a wildfire that hit homes on a nearby hillside, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought, destroying dozens of structures and forcing hundreds to flee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Smoke from several warehouses on fire, thought to have been sparked by embers from a wildfire that hit homes on a nearby hillside, fills the sky Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought, destroying dozens of structures and forcing hundreds to flee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Firefighters walk along one of several still-smoldering warehouses that burned, thought to have been sparked by embers from a wildfire that hit homes on a nearby hillside, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought, destroying dozens of structures and forcing hundreds to flee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The close proximity that a wildfire encroached upon homes near Monitor, Wash., can be seen on Monday, June 29, 2015. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review, via AP)
A resident wears a mask while walking in Wenatchee, Wash., near the Blue Bird fruit plant Monday, June 29, 2015. Emergency management officials say ammonia that started leaking from the fruit warehouse burning in a central Washington wildfire has dissipated and is no longer a threat. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review, via AP)
The foundation and chimneys from a destroyed home remain following a wildfire the night before, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. The wildfires hit parts of central and eastern Washington over the weekend as the state is struggling with a severe drought, destroying dozens of structures and forcing hundreds to flee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
An ammonia leak from the Blue Bird packing plant is seen from East Wenatchee on Monday, Jun 29, 2015, in Wenatchee, Wash. Emergency management officials have issued a “shelter in place” order after ammonia started leaking from the fruit warehouse burning in the central Washington wildfire. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review, via AP)
Crews battle blaze near North #Wenatchee Avenue http://t.co/0QdnZZLSWA http://t.co/HkpikHPFrI
#SleepyHollowFire: count of burned houses & structures near Broadview up to 12, possibly more http://t.co/7MwcCnhcU5 http://t.co/iDmnTypPFS
And ladies and gentlemen is where I almost pooped my pants.. fireball came roaring over and melted the decals. Insane first brush fire of the year. #sleepyhollowfire#firefighter#savedthehouse#wenatchee#Godsgood
Rippers!! Wind was killer today. Wind, heat...killer fire #sleepyhollowfire but there's nothing sleepy about it. #wenatchee#Godsgood#wildland#sleepyhollowfire day1
In just a few hours the #SleepyHollowFire has gone from Monitor to #Wenatchee and homes are burning. http://t.co/PucTObg00i
Shits getting real #forestfire #byewenatchee
Sleepy Hollow Fire, it's getting real bad in Wenatchee sending prayers to friends, families, and the rest of the town🙏🔥#Pray#Wenatchee#FireSeason#Speechless
Aerial photo of the fire in north #Wenatchee near Sav-Mart. Photo / Jessica Richardson http://t.co/h9BYWbtcwR
#SleepyHollowFire unconfirmed: Walmart #Wenatchee is being evacuated. Photos by Kirby Hoyt south of Wenatchee http://t.co/N4bVz5kUCG
Please pray for Wenatchee I can't believe my home is burning down #prayforwenatchee #wenatcheestrong http://t.co/zR0vUylf6A
Updates to #SleepyHollowFire story have been posted here: http://t.co/scWuL1eTOq http://t.co/3v0gGK33XJ
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Phil Bentz, who lives on the same side of the river as the fire, said his home had not been evacuated.

"We were waiting for someone to knock on the door, but they didn't come. So far, so good," Bentz said.

Officials know the fire started in brush on the edge of town but they are still trying to determine what sparked it. Sweltering heat above 100 degrees, tinder-dry brush and strong winds helped fuel it.

Railroad traffic in the area has been shut down, including freight lines and Amtrak's daily Chicago to Seattle route, BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said.

The railroad helped battle the blaze by spraying water from tank cars and transferring water to firefighting trucks, he said. The flames have caused some rail damage that crews were inspecting and repairing, Melonas said.

Reports Sunday night said the fire had burned 2.6 square miles, but it has grown and a helicopter was getting an update its scope Monday morning, officials said.

Hundreds of firefighters were on the scene and more headed there.

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