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Pipeline fire near Selah closes 50,000 acres of Wenas Wildlife Area

Here’s how to prepare for wildfire smoke and the unhealthy air it brings

Washington state health officials are urging residents to be prepared for smoky days with poor air quality as wildfire season heats up. Seniors, young children and people with existing respiratory problems are especially vulnerable.
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Washington state health officials are urging residents to be prepared for smoky days with poor air quality as wildfire season heats up. Seniors, young children and people with existing respiratory problems are especially vulnerable.

A wildfire that started July 23 in Yakima County has prompted the temporary closure of about 50,000 acres of the Wenas Wildlife Area near Selah to protect firefighters and help ensure public safety.

Ross Huffman, regional lands operations manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said access to the eastern end of the wildlife area will be restricted until approximately Aug. 25 while firefighters mop up the blaze and guard against flare-ups.

Yakima Valley Emergency Management will post updates to its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/YakimaCountyOEM.

The four graveled parking areas and wildlife area entrances are closed at Durr Road, Sheep Company Road and Buffalo Road.

Numerous roads and trails are also closed around the Wenas Wildlife Area, including Sheep Company Road, Durr Road, Umtanum Ridge Road east of the intersection with Kelley Hollow Road, BelTel Road, Bull Pasture Road, Roza Creek Road, Buffalo Road, Lower Buffalo Road, the Skyline Trail and the Umtanum Creek Trail.

Wildlife area manager Cindi Confer Morris said the estimated size of the wildfire, known as the Pipeline fire, was 7,100 acres as of Friday. It was only about 20 percent contained.

The wildfire was likely caused by lightning.

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