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Wildfire in Southern Washington caused by wind turbine that caught fire

A wildfire in southern Washington that has burned more than 350 acres was caused by melting sections of a wind turbine that fell to the ground after the turbine’s generator caught fire, fire officials said.

Around 1:40 p.m. Saturday, smoke was reported to be coming from the generator of a wind turbine south of Bickleton, Washington in Klickitat County, according to a new release from Klickitat County Emergency Management.

Fire engulfed the turbine 300 feet above the ground, causing melted pieces to fall to the ground, igniting grass and brush, according to the release. Gusting winds helped spread the wildfire, called the Juniper Fire, to between 350 and 500 acres by Saturday evening. By 10 p.m. the fire was estimated to be about 20% contained.

Three residences were put on level three evacuation notification by the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters were stationed at the residences overnight.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources dispatched 25 fire units, two bulldozers and two fire engines to control the fire, according to the release. Washington state fire assistance has been authorized by the state fire marshal. Additional fire units were anticipated to arrive Sunday morning.