Wildfire burning along Columbia River in central Washington state threatens homes

A wildfire in central Washington state was threatening several homes after destroying two outbuildings, fire officials said.

The wind-driven blaze was burning over 8,000 acres (3,200 hectares), or more than 12 square miles (31 square kilometers). It was 25 percent contained Sunday evening, said Dan Johnson, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol's fire protection bureau.

Stiff winds had calmed by Sunday evening, Johnson said. Officials expect to have the fire fully contained by Wednesday.

No evacuations had been ordered. The fire was about a half-mile (a kilometer) from the threatened homes, Johnson said.

It started Saturday afternoon and is believed to have been sparked by a downed power line, said Melissa Gannie, a fire protection bureau spokeswoman.

The blaze was burning near Bridgeport, a town of about 2,000, in steep terrain in a narrow strip along the Columbia River.

About 100 firefighters were battling the blaze, Gannie said.

Meanwhile, California firefighters were in the final stage of surrounding one of the biggest blazes in state history, which has burned 254 square miles (650 square kilometers) of brush and timber since erupting Labor Day.

A helicopter crashed while returning to pick up more fire retardant and water. Two pilots aboard walked away with minor injuries.

The fire was 95 percent contained, and officials expected to have it fully surrounded by Monday.

The fire, ignited by someone burning debris, burned mainly in the Los Padres and Angeles National forests. At one point, it threatened the Ventura County communities of Ojai, Santa Paula and Fillmore, reports AP.

The fire destroyed one rural home and damaged another. It also burned a handful of structures including barns, sheds, an unoccupied cabin and a camping trailer.

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