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In brief: Crews still fighting Gateway fire

Mon., July 17, 2006

Fire crews continued to fight the Gateway fire near Spangle on Sunday, which officials have determined was caused by a spark from tools being used to repair a piece of heavy construction equipment.

The blaze, ignited Saturday, spread rapidly across farmland because of steady winds. Originally thought to be 200 acres, it is actually 111 acres, said Department of Natural Resources spokesman Steve Harris. The new size was calculated using a global positioning system.

Growth of the fire from Saturday to Sunday was minimal partly due to decreased winds, Harris said. Crews are keeping the blaze at 111 acres.

Ten structures – mainly homes and barns – continue to be threatened, Harris said. But residents aren’t being forced to evacuate.

The fire is believed to have started at the end of Gateway Lane off Jennings Road, three to four miles from Spangle.

On Sunday, there were 159 firefighters, two helicopters equipped with buckets, and two bulldozers on the scene. The helicopters were getting water from wetlands and ponds near Turnbull.

– Jody Lawrence-Turner


Pullman couple die in motorcycle crash

A Pullman couple died Saturday night when their motorcycle crashed near Lewiston.

Neither Irene L. Berg, 68, nor Robert W. Berg, 71, was wearing a helmet when they were thrown from the 2003 Honda motorcycle, said Trooper Ken Yount of the Idaho State Police.

The couple was westbound on Highway 12 east of Lewiston about 6:19 p.m. on Saturday when Robert Berg failed to negotiate a curve and the motorcycle skidded into a guardrail, Yount said.

No other vehicles were involved.

Unlike Washington state, Idaho doesn’t require adult motorcyclists to wear helmets.

– Jody Lawrence-Turner


Man identified in Fish Lake drowning

A man missing in Fish Lake since a boating accident Friday has been identified as 55-year-old Arnold R. Walker of Spokane.

Walker disappeared in the water about 4:45 p.m. Friday after a gust of wind caused the boom of his sailboat to swing and tipped the craft, said Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan. By the time the other man on the boat regained control, Walker had slipped beneath the water.

Divers used sonar and an underwater camera to search the lake bottom Saturday, Reagan said. Searchers will try again today.

The drowning is the third at Fish Lake in three years, Reagan said. Fish Lake is a popular spot for swimmers and small boats because gas-powered motors are not allowed.

– Jody Lawrence-Turner

Fairchild Air Force Base

Skyfest to see debut of CV-22 Osprey

Fairchild Air Force Base Skyfest attendees July 29-30 will be some of the first people in the country to get an up-close look at the CV-22 Osprey.

The first CV-22 Ospreys were delivered to Kirtland Air Force Base in March, and the tiltrotor aircraft’s appearance at Fairchild will be its first off its home base.

It was designed to combine a helicopter’s vertical takeoff and hovering capabilities with the speed and fuel-efficiency of planes. Once it takes off, the Osprey’s propellers rotate from an upright position to a forward position.

The headline performance both days will be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Other aerial acts include the Canadian Skyhawks parachute team, and the Cascade Warbird Squadron.

Skyfest gates open at 9 a.m.

Bring lawn chairs and water, but leave backpacks, walkie-talkies, coolers and pets at home.

– Amy Cannata


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