August 13, 2007 in City

Crews mop up fires near Cheney

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Three wildfires were 75 percent contained on Sunday after burning about 350 acres and destroyed one home near Cheney. The fires broke out along railroad tracks Saturday.

Three Department of Natural Resources strike teams, aided by one team each from Douglas-Chelan, Grant, Stevens and Spokane counties and 10 Department of Corrections inmate crews, were mopping up the fires that at one time threatened 50 homes.

An outbuilding also was destroyed and another outbuilding damaged in the fires.

DNR spokesman Erick Keller said 225 people and 40 vehicles were assigned to the fires Sunday afternoon, working primarily around houses in the area. Keller estimated the cost of fighting three fires, the cause of which was still under investigation, at $500,000.

Those crews will be back on the job this morning, Keller said.

BNSF Railway Co. freight trains were backed up Sunday for seven to eight hours because of the fires along two sets of tracks.

The three fires were the Division A, about a half-mile north and east of Marshall along Cheney-Spokane Road, 100 acres; Division B, centering at the intersection of Grove and Andrus roads, 130 acres; and Division C, a half-mile east of Cheney on Cheney-Spokane Road, 100 acres.

Other fires in the region

The Poe Cabin fire was about 85 percent contained on Saturday after burning about 58,000 acres southwest of White Bird, Idaho. Parts of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area north of Heavens Gate and the Nez Perce National Forest north of Forest Service Road 517, Race Creek Road and Cow Creek Road were closed because of the fire, according to the National Forest Service.

The Bridge Creek fire, which has burned 20,500 acres in the Clearwater National Forest of Idaho, continued to burn with moderate intensity toward the east into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

The Rattlesnake fire has burned 58,000 acres and the Concord fire 2,395 acres in the Nez Perce National Forest. Dixie, Idaho, was still under pre-evacuation orders while the town of Comstock was under voluntary evacuation notice on Saturday.

The Boundary Junction fire was spreading east into the upper end of the Fish Creek drainage after burning 300 acres 25 miles northeast of Kooskia, Idaho, and a half mile east of Boundary Junction. This was the top priority in the Clearwater-Nez Perce firefighting zone on Saturday.

In Washington state, the Domke Lake and Bear Creek fires continue to burn in steep terrain after destroying 1,374 acres of forest about 36 miles northwest of Chelan.

Together the fires are being called the Domke Lake Complex.


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