Fishtrap fire spreads into Spokane County

UPDATED: SUNDAY, JULY 20, 2014, 9:16 A.M.

Sunday morning update
The Watermelon Hill fire about 7 miles southwest of Cheney has grown to about 13,000 acres, fire officials said this morning. It remains entirely uncontained. About 280 firefighters are on the blaze near Fishtrap Lake. About 100 structures were threatened Saturday, but as of 7:30 a.m. today evacuation orders were downgraded to Level 1 with the exception of the Fishtrap Resort area on Scroggie Road. The fire is burning in range land and timber in moderate terrain.

Original story

A large fire near Fishtrap Lake in Lincoln County rapidly spread east into Spokane County on Saturday.

Fire engines responded from Lincoln, Spokane and Whitman counties.

The growing size of the fire was estimated between 5,000 to 6,000 acres as of 9 p.m. Saturday and the fire was moving northeast. “It’s still running,” said Forrest Ownbey of the Department of Natural Resources.

The fire, being driven by brisk winds, is being called the Watermelon Hill fire. “It’s jumped Fishtrap Lake,” said Ownbey.

According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the fire was started by three people shooting exploding targets. They were driving a yellow Dodge pickup with a black stripe. Anyone with information on the people or the truck is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (509) 725-3501.

Residents were told to evacuate from the area bordered on the north by Lance Hill Road/Phillips Road, on the west by Pine Springs Road, on the east by Sterling Road and on the south by Scroggie Road. Residents living north of Lance Hill Road are on a Level 2 evacuation notice, meaning they should be ready to leave with an hour’s notice.

The Fishtrap Lake Resort has been evacuated and about 100 homes are threatened.

An emergency notification system was activated to let residents know of the evacuation. “Deputies are actually going door to door if necessary,” said Gerry Bozarth of Spokane Emergency Management.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Cheney Middle School, 2716 N. Sixth St. Livestock and horses can be taken to the Cheney Rodeo Grounds.

Firefighters progress in Idaho

Firefighters report steady progress in battling wildfires in the Boise National Forest.

The Whiskey Complex consists of two fires that have burned nearly 12 square miles. So far, only one unoccupied cabin has been destroyed.

There are 660 firefighters and 13 helicopters on the scene.

The fires were started a week ago by lightning.

Other wildfires are burning in the Payette National Forest.

A red flag warning was posted Saturday for a large portion of Southern Idaho.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was changed from its original version to delete a reference to a trademarked term for emergency notification system.


There are 20 comments on this story »