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Washington Wildfire Burns 4,000 Acres, Destroys Two Dozen Homes

Raging wildfire burns dozens of Washington homes 2:28

A fast-moving Washington wildfire that consumed at least two dozen homes as it jumped from roof to roof is now partly contained, authorities said Monday, but parts of Wenatchee continue to burn.

The Sleepy Hollow Fire, about 140 miles east of Seattle, sparked Sunday afternoon and had spread to 4,000 acres Monday afternoon, leading to the evacuation of several hundred homes in its path.

Meanwhile, new worries about an ammonia leak at a nearby fruit packaging facility Monday led authorities to issue a shelter-in-place order for parts of the town. But the threat dissipated quickly, and the order was lifted early in the afternoon.

Dry conditions and gusting winds fed the blaze, which consumed a cardboard recycling facility. An ember flew through the window of a firefighter's car, burning part of the back seat, authorities said. A rain shower helped slow the blaze Monday morning.

PHOTO GALLERY: Wildfire Consumes Homes and Businesses

Firefighters went door to door to urge residents to evacuate. Just more than 200 took shelter at Eastmont High School on Sunday night.

Washington Wildfire Forces Evacuations, Destroys Homes 2:10

Maribeth Marboe was given 30 minutes Sunday night to evacuate her home on Maiden Lane. With the help of neighbors and family, she grabbed all the photos and files from her office and fled the neighborhood where she'd lived for 17 years.

Her husband, Scott, son, Michell, and friends stayed back a bit longer to battle the fire, but they were forced to flee after about 40 minutes.

And her home? "It's completely gone," Marboe told NBC News on Monday, along with about a dozen more in her area, known as Broadview.

The destruction happened quickly in an area known for dry brush, which has been threatened by wildfires in the past.

Marboe arrived at her home at 2:30 Sunday and saw a fire on a hill in the distance. She described how she called 911 and was told not to worry, that it was too far away. "But the wind shifted, and the police were out here, said it was Level 3 and to get out now."

As officials tried to determine what sparked the fire, Chelan County emergency management officials declared a state of emergency. The Northwest has experienced a stretch of arid weather and is expected to suffer from torrid heat well into July, The Weather Channel reported, raising the specter of an earlier and more dangerous fire season.

Image: Wenatchee, WA
Forest Service firefighters from Leavenworth, Washington, cut brush Sunday near houses in northern Wenatchee as a brush fire nears a neighborhood. DON SEABROOK / Wenatchee World