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2,000 acre fire near Kettle Falls burns three homes, threatens another 120, as it continues to grow

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 13, 2018, 5:24 p.m.

A wildfire burning northwest of Kettle Falls has leveled at least three homes and threatens another 120.

The so-called Boyd’s fire, which started Saturday afternoon on the west side of the Columbia River three miles from town, quickly moved up a western slope away from the city and grew to about 2,000 acres by Monday morning, said Daniel Omdal, spokesman for the fire department.

Mandatory evacuations remained in place for residents along state Highway 20 to the west of Columbia River to Matson Creek Road. Level 2 evacuations, meaning be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, were in place for residents along Matson Creek Road to Boulder Creek Road.

Omdal said a team of about 150 local and state firefighters, including six hand crews, 10 engines, two water tender trucks and three bulldozers, would be focusing their efforts Monday on protecting homes on the northeast side of the fire. He expected the blaze to grow significantly on the western edge, since it continues to burn uphill on rugged terrain.

“It’s likely that it will continue to grow,” he said. “It just seems to be moving up slope.”

A Red Cross emergency shelter has been erected at the Kettle Falls High School for displaced residents, Omdal said. There have been no reported injuries to residents or firefighters.

Omdal said as of Monday morning the fire was officially 0 percent contained, though firefighters had built lines around at-risk homes. A cause has not been determined.

Due to the heavy smoke from the fire and other area blazes, Omdal said firefighters were operating without the help of water-dropping airplanes.


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