Government Flat fire 'getting ugly again'

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 21 at 5:37 PM

THE DALLES, Ore. – Crews set out Wednesday for day five of their fight against the Government Flat fire complex near The Dalles, which had reached 8,000 acres and was only about 15 percent contained.

More than 800 firefighters were battling the blaze that was whipped up by windy conditions, causing the fire to jump some containment lines that had previously been shored up.

One firefighter told KGW Wednesday the fire was "getting ugly again."

Homeowners were on edge after another home burned Tuesday, bringing the total to three homes lost.

"It's been a surreal experience for my wife and myself and we’ve been very skittish," said Lee Weinstein who lives near where the fire is burning. "On the other, hand we have been concerned about neighbors and everybody else who has been impacted by this.”

One woman who evacuated her home on Mill Creek Road returned Tuesday to nothing but ash and rubble.

“We're rough and tough and we'll survive,” said Sarah Burchfield. “We're survivors.”

More: The Dalles evacuee returns home to ash and rubble

Five other buildings were destroyed by the fire and several more homes were still in danger Wednesday. Fifty families still remained under the evacuation order, but may were choosing not to leave.

Background: More than 700 firefighters battle wildfires near The Dalles

On Wednesday, the U.S. Forest Service said it was diverting $600 million from other budgets because it is running out of money to fight the fires, which have cost the service $967 million and counting.

More: Feds running out of wildfire money

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KGW reporters Ashley Korslien and Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.

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