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Residents Ordered to Leave as Wildfire Approaches Washington Community

The Douglas County Complex Fire, which started Friday and is up to 10,000 acres, was nearing the community of Rimrock Meadows east of the Cascades.
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Authorities in Washington state ordered residents of a rural community in the northern part of the state to leave their homes Saturday as a wildfire that has been burning for a day and growing in size approached.

Deputies from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to knock on doors in Rimrock Meadows, a private community on the eastern side of the Cascade Range and 17 miles northwest of the town of Ephrata, at around 9 p.m. local time.

The mandatory evacuation order affects about 100 residents in a rural area mostly known for wheat farming and cattle, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Bill Slosson said.

The Douglas County Complex Fire broke out Friday evening and had grown to around 10,000 acres by Saturday night, officials said. The fire is zero percent contained, but firefighters with bulldozers would be working in the area through the night, Slosson said.

RELATED: Wildfires Ravage Washington and Oregon

Rimrock Meadows is about 40 miles east of Wenatchee, where a huge wildfire destroyed nearly 30 homes on June 28.

Persistent hot, dry weather in Washington state have exacerbated wildfire conditions, and there were 21 fires burning across the state earlier this week. Outdoor fires on state land have been banned until Sept. 30, and some towns cancelled July 4 fireworks due to the dry conditions.

There have been over 321 wildfires in Washington from January through June of this year, compared to 224 fires last year.