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Official: Calmer winds helping fight against central Washington fire

By the CNN Wire Staff, CNN
  • NEW: Cowiche Mill fire near Yakima, Washington is 15 percent contained
  • NEW: If calm winds persist, "we're going to get a good handle on it today," says a fire spokeswoman
  • The fire began Sunday afternoon and has spread to more than 10,000 acres
  • NEW: Officials corrected earlier reports saying 3 homes were destroyed, saying it's too early to determine any loss

(CNN) -- A wildfire that has burned more than 10,000 acres near Yakima, Washington may be losing its steam, thanks to calmer winds, a fire spokeswoman told CNN Monday.

Christy Boisselle, spokeswoman for the West Valley fire department, says the Cowiche Mill fire is now 15 percent contained and if good weather persists, "we're going to get a good handle on it today."

The fire, fueled by high winds, started Sunday afternoon and had forced several dozen families from their homes in the West Vally area, according to Rich Andre, a spokesman for the Yakima County Emergency Management Agency.

"Most families have since returned to their homes," Andre said Monday.

Early Monday, authorities told CNN that the flames had claimed three homes and a number of smaller structures. However, Boisselle told CNN Monday afternoon, "until we can pinpoint where these houses are, we cannot confirm any loss."

Three firefighters suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation when the fire surrounded an engine, destroying it. They have all been treated and released from an area hospital, Boisselle said.

By late Monday evening, some 300 firefighters and emergency personnel from across the state will be on the fire line. An investigation into what caused the fire began early Monday, Boisselle said.

CNN's Leslie Tripp contributed to this report.