SEATTLE (Reuters) - A wildfire in south Washington state that forced several hundred people from their homes was more than 30 percent contained on Sunday with more than 800 firefighters battling the blaze.
The Monastery Fire had burned through about 4,250 acres of pine and brush as of Sunday morning, destroying 64 buildings, including nine homes northeast of the town of Goldendale, Washington, according to the state fire incident team.
"The main objective today is what we call mop up," team spokesman Guy Gifford said Sunday in a telephone interview.
"We are trying to get a 50-foot perimeter mopped up around the whole fire edge. From a firefighter's standpoint that is a good thing," he said.
"That means we have stopped from trying to stop the fire from spreading to now putting it out."
The fire started Wednesday afternoon near Brooks Memorial State Park and firefighters expect to be on the scene for at least another week, Gifford said. There have been three minor injuries reported among firefighters, he said.
As of Sunday, the incident team had cut sharply the area under a mandatory evacuation order to seven square miles, from 27 square miles, Gifford said.
About 200 houses were ordered evacuated because of the fire and it was not immediately clear with the reduction of the evacuation zone how many were cleared for residents to return home, Gifford said.
(Writing by David Bailey, Editing by James B. Kelleher)