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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wildfire threatens homes in area near Lake Roosevelt

From staff reports

Crews were battling a fire threatening several homes Wednesday near the Lake Roosevelt community of Gifford.

Earlier estimated at 350 acres, the fire was judged to have burned about 600 acres in steep, heavily-wooded terrain by Wednesday night. It started along Highway 25 near the Gifford Ferry landing, and was likely human-caused, said Steve Harris, fire information officer for the state Department of Natural Resources. The highway remained open.

“There are homes threatened … probably about a dozen homes,” Harris said.

The fire was being worked by about 60 firefighters from the DNR and two Stevens County fire districts, Harris said. A state fire team was expected to take over today, providing the kind of support – food, bookkeeping, camp supplies, equipment acquisition and the like – that will be needed if it becomes a days-long battle.

“This fire’s going to take a while to put out,” Harris said. “But it’s also going to depend on what the weatherman does for us, too.”

While not the downpour firefighters would welcome, the National Weather Service is calling for a good chance of rain today and Friday, said Claudia Cox, weather service meteorologist in Spokane.

Harris noted that the 1991 fires that burned more than 100 Spokane-area homes in one day occurred in mid-October. Anyone heading into the woods needs to be as careful now as in July, he said.

“Just because it’s getting cool, it’s still very dry. The fuels are as dry as they were in the summer,” he said. “Until we get a good couple inches of rain, it will still be fire season.”

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