A wildfire burning in Stevens County has more than doubled in size as it burns northwest toward the community of Springdale.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for residents on Springdale-Hunters Road, which connects the communities of Springdale, a small town five miles west of Loon Lake, and Hunters, which sits along the Columbia River on the other side of a ridge of mountains called the Huckleberry range.
Fruitland Valley was previously under a mandatory evacuation order.
View a map of the Level 3 evacuation order here.
Stevens County Fire District 1 posted on Facebook this afternoon that “This fire is a monster that continues to grow unchecked. It should not be taken lightly.”
Currently, there is no evacuation order for Loon Lake or anywhere else in the fire district, but the fire district is asking people to remain alert.
The fire already has burned 17 homes, and fire spokesman Randall Rishe said firefighters are still determining whether the wind-whipped fire will threaten more homes Thursday afternoon and evening.
“The fire is growing to the northeast and we expect the number of acres burning to increase,” Rishe said.
There are farms and cabins that dot the rural area along the Springdale-Hunters Road, which has been closed. The fire is expected to burn to the road.
Suzy McVay, who works at Springdale Grocery and Hardware, said many people who live in evacuated areas are in Springdale hoping to get back to their homes to take out more valuables. But they have turned back.
“There are quite a few people with trailers and cars all stacked up around town,” she said. “There are a lot of panicked.”
Lake Roosevelt closures
The list of closed campsites include: Enterprise, Hunters, Gifford, Cloverleaf, Kettle Falls, Marcus Island, Evans, North Gorge, Snag Cove, Kettle River, Kamloops Island, Summer Island, and Haag Cove.
Campsites in the southern portions of the district remain open. They include: Spring Canyon, Keller Ferry, Hawk Creek, Porcupine Bay, and Fort Spokane.