DISASTERS

Small Washington town evacuated as wildfire advances, crews fight to save homes

A wildfire burning near the Oregon border has forced the evacuation of an entire small Washington town, authorities said.

The Klickitat County sheriff's office issued the mandatory order for Roosevelt Tuesday afternoon.

An estimated 300 people were evacuated, and a shelter was set up in a local school.

Several barns and other structures burned after the grass fire erupted about 1 p.m., but no homes had been damaged by nightfall, officials said.

The sheriff's office said early Wednesday that the evacuation order was still in effect and that crews had so far been successful in shielding residences.

Jeff King, the county director of emergency management, said fire crews are focused on structure protection.

He said that the evacuation order was necessary because the fire was burning in several parts of Roosevelt, located about 120 miles east of Portland, Ore.

Six Klickitat County fire departments, plus a team from the Bureau of Land Management and Washington State Air resources were fighting the fire.

Traffic is being detoured around a section of State Route 14 that has been closed by the fire.

Roosevelt, located on the banks of the Columbia River, was on the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.