August 21, 2009 in News, Region

Wildfires char thousands of acres

Campers on Lake Coeur d’Alene temporarily evauated
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Lightning-sparked wildfires burned around the region on Friday, including one that consumed some 2,500 acres in northwest Whitman County and another that forced a temporary evacuation of a campground near Harrison, Idaho.

No injuries or property destruction were reported in the fires, which came on the heels of a lightning storm Thursday night. Several fires of 20 acres and smaller also kept crews busy across Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

The Texas Lake fire in Whitman County was one of the area’s largest, although crews had it well in hand by Friday night, said Ken McNaughton, assistant fire chief for the Colfax Fire Department. It was caused by lightning in the early-morning hours Friday, and crews from several Whitman County fire districts spent the day battling it.

The wildfire near Harrison, Idaho, burned around 50 acres Friday afternoon, and people using a nearby campground were temporarily evacuated, said Steve Cuvala, information officer for the Idaho Department of Lands. The fire, near Bell Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene, was slowing down in the evening, and campers were being allowed to return.

In Okanogan County, a wildfire of more than 500 acres was burning northwest of Omak, with about 30 homes potentially threatened by the fire, said Matt Castle, spokesman for the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

In Grant County, a series of four fires was contained on Friday, after threatening homes near Soap Lake. About 2,000 acres burned since the fires started Thursday night, and crews were continuing to fight the fires; no injuries or property loss has been reported. County commissioners declared an emergency Friday morning, which may help secure money to fight the fires.

Two large fires also were burning on more than 3,000 acres on and around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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