Crews in Yakima County are battling a wildfire in Selah. It's burning just north of town, and is threatening structures, people and animals.
This fire broke out in North Selah at about 11:00 a.m. and it seems that the wind had shifted East which was able to save some structures, people and animals.
As flames approached, we saw people running to save animals and grab any possessions they could. Flames began to torch the dry wild grass growing just north of where Old Durr Road comes to a dead end. At first people in the area were in fear the fire would spread to the nearby homes and ranches.
They were frantic and... which i would be too. Seeing the horses and everything going on," said James Purdy, Selah resident.
The combination of dry grass and high winds caused the fire to spread faster than normal. Property owners were heard yelling for fire trucks to get there as fast as possible.
About fifteen minutes after we arrived, firefighters arrived to help protect the properties. At this point the fire began to move east going around the main structures, and hopping a fence about a half mile away. The smoke could been seen from Selah when it first began, which prompted good Samaritan James Purdy to leap into action.
"We seen them running around with horses and everything, had to good samaritan, come out and help them and... I don't mind helping people, that's what i do i guess," said Purdy
It took James ten to fifteen minutes to get up to the fire when he saw the smoke. Once we got far enough away from the danger zone, he gave his best wishes to the people he met today to help..
"hopefully they get it out and no houses go up or nobody gets hurt"
Four helicopters and three planes were called in to take care of this fire and to make sure that these houses stay safe.
The Yakima Valley chapter of the American Red Cross has opened an emergency evacuation shelter for those who are being evacuated. The shelter is at the Selah Civic Center, located at 216 south 1st street.
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