August 4, 2014 in City, Idaho

Crews working to restore power, fight fires from Saturday’s storm

From staff reports
 

More than 10,000 customers remain without power Monday morning throughout the Inland Northwest after a powerful thunderstorm ripped through the area Saturday night.

Firefighters are also mopping up fires sparked in north Spokane County by falling power lines.

Avista Utilities Corp. reports the lights are off for more than 6,000 of its Washington and Idaho customers as of Monday morning. Most of those customers live in northern areas, with 2,000 without power in Deer Park and another roughly 1,500 without power in Sandpoint.

At the peak of outages, roughly 48,000 Avista customers were without power, the company said in a news release. Avista plans to restore power to about 90 percent of those customers by Monday night, but the company warned extensive damage in the Deer Park, north Spokane and Sandpoint areas could keep the lights off there until Tuesday.

Inland Power & Light also reports about 5,000 of its customers remain powerless in the rural areas north of Spokane. The majority of its outages are in areas surrounding Deer Park, the same areas hit with strong winds and tree damage in another powerful storm on July 23.

Northern Lights, Inc., reported late Sunday a little less than 5,000 of its customers were without power, down from a peak of a little more than 11,000 outages. Crews were working to reboot a substation on the Pend Orielle River that had been knocked out by the storm. Northern Lights customers can report an outage by calling 866-665-4837.

A trio of wildfires touched off Saturday after power lines fell in wooded areas. All are contained. The largest, the Jim Hill fire, consumed about 45 acres before being brought under control. The fire burned acreage north of Elk Chattaroy Road and east of Newport Highway. Two other fires burned a combined 17 acres, according to Spokane Fire Department spokesman Brian Schaeffer.

About 75 firefighters are working to control the blazes today, according to a news release. No evacuations have been ordered, and no roads were closed Monday morning. Some structures in the area remain threatened, Schaeffer said.

A repeat of Saturday’s windstorm is unlikely this week, forecasters say, as the Spokane area gears up for another scorching seven days. Highs Monday are expected to reach the upper 90s, with some relief in sight later in the week. Forecasted highs in the upper 80s are predicted for Thursday and Friday.


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