Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 52° Rain
News >  Spokane

Fire roundup: More than 100 structures lost in Chelan; dozens of homes lost in central Idaho

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 15, 2015

Much of the devastation from numerous out-of-control Northwest wildfires fanned by high winds was unclear Saturday as officials scrambled to pull in more firefighting resources and douse the flames. But there were certainly dozens of homes lost and hundreds of evacuations remained in place Saturday. Chelan, Washington On Friday night the town of Chelan was surrounded by flames. Five small lightning fires grew into the Reach fire. It burned into south Chelan, jumped the Columbia River and continued spreading into Douglas County. The Reach Fire is estimated at 2,000 acres and several other smaller fires are included in the Reach Complex. The Wenatchee World reported Saturday that an estimated 100 structures burned, including homes and cabins. Residents of more than 1,000 homes in the Chelan area and Douglass County were told to evacuate. Commercial structures and the Chelan Airport also were threatened. Chelan County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kent Sisson reported that Chelan Fruit lost a warehouse and Chelan Lumber lost a building. “The Anderson Road area was fairly devastated by fire last night,” he said. The Chelan County Public Utilities District reported that more than 30 power poles burned and about 9,000 homes are without power. Deputy Incident Commander Rob Allen said that all regional equipment and firefighters are being used and crews are beginning to come in from Alaska and Canada. “We’ve already tapped into all the resources on the East Coast,” he said. “Competition for resources are extremely tight.” Kamiah, Idaho The Lawyer Complex in Idaho spread to the east and burned to the edge of the Clearwater River directly across from downtown Kamiah. The lightning caused fire is estimated at about 16,000 acres. The Lewiston Tribune reported that a woman died when she sustained a head injury while evacuating. About 50 homes and 75 outbuildings have burned. Other Washington fires  The 38,000-acre Wolverine fire near Lake Chelan stayed within containment lines on the north and south ends, and the Lutheran retreat center, Holden Village, remained unharmed. Some resources were sent to Chelan to help with the new fires there. There still are evacuations in effect.  The Nine Mile fire three miles west of Oroville burned over 4,600 acres and spread into British Columbia. Structures burned but it has not been confirmed if they were homes. The fire is 30 percent contained.  The Tower fire burning on the Washington-Idaho border north of Newport is estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000 acres. The South Baldy Lookout Tower is threatened. Other Idaho fires  Wind pushed the Parker Ridge fire north of Bonners Ferry across Westside Road and the Kootenai River, growing by more than 4,000 acres in one day. Its size is now estimated at 6,500 acres. An outbuilding was lost and several homes are threatened.  The Not Creative fire grew to 120 acres south of Interstate 90 near Rose Lake. Firefighters attempted to put a line around the fire with a bulldozer, but the fire jumped the west line. I-90 is not closed and drivers are being urged not to slow down to get a look at the fire. Shelters The Red Cross has opened seven shelters in Washington to assist those displaced by fires. The shelters are located at the Entiat Valley Community Resource Center (2084 Entiat Way, Entiat), Sterling Intermediate School (600 N. James, East Wenatchee), Brewster High School (503 S. Seventh, Brewster), Gess Elementary School (405 E. Lincoln Way, Chewelah), Columbia School (4961B Hunters Shop Road, Hunters) and Republic Elementary School (30306 Hwy 20 E., Republic). Stretched resources With usual firefighting resources exhausted, state and other fire officials were working with the National Guard and considering the use of international fire crews, said Mary Verner, deputy supervisor for wildfire and administration for the Department of Natural Resources. The state announced Thursday that 100 National Guardsmen would be sent to the Cougar Creek fire in Yakima County. But Verner said Saturday that they will instead report on Monday to fires around Chelan. Verner, a former Spokane mayor, said the use of more National Guard resources, including guardsman and communications systems, is possible. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared that several fires in Washington and Idaho threaten widespread destruction and are eligible for federal funding. The Stevens County Complex (also called the Colville Complex), the Stickpin fire in Ferry County, the Reach Complex near Chelan, the Okanogan County Complex (eight fires) and the Municipal Fire outside of Orofino, Idaho, will receive funding. FEMA will pay 75 percent of firefighting costs but does not cover damage to homes or infrastructure. Verner said part of the state’s focus is on prevention. “We really want folks to know that we cannot afford any more human-started fires,” she said. “Any more fires on the landscape would create a very difficult demand on our resources.” Staff editor Jonathan Brunt contributed to this report.

Below is an earlier version of this report.

The gusting wind overnight may have brought lower temperatures and cleared out the smoky shroud that clung to the Spokane area, but it fanned the flames of several regional fires, forcing new evacuations as flames jumped roads and rivers. - On Friday night the town of Chelan was surrounded by flames. Five small lighting fires grew into the Reach Fire. It burned into South Chelan, jumped the Columbia River and continued spreading into Douglas County. The Reach Fire is estimated at 2,000 acres and several other smaller fires are included in the Reach Complex. The Wenatchee World is reporting that an estimated 100 structures have burned, including homes and cabins. Residents of over 1,000 homes have been told to evacuate. Commercial structures and the Chelan Airport are also threatened. The Chelan County PUD is reporting that over 30 power poles have burned and about 9,000 homes are without power. Chelan County Emergency Management is reporting that the Chelan Hospital has been evacuated, but the emergency room remains open. - The Lawyer Complex in Idaho spread to the east Friday evening and burned down to the edge of the Clearwater River directly across from downtown Kamiah. The lightning caused fire is estimated at 16,281 acres and an unconfirmed number of structures burned Friday. The Lewiston Tribune is reporting that at least 30 homes and 75 outbuildings have burned and one woman has died after sustaining a head injury while evacuating. - Wind pushed the Parker Ridge Fire north of Bonners Ferry across Westside Road and the Kootenai River last night, growing by more than 4,000 acres in one day. It’s size is now estimated at 6,500 acres. An outbuilding was lost and several homes are threatened. - The Stickpin Fire on the Kettle Crest south of Profanity Peak in Ferry County also grew significantly, jumping Boulder Deer Road. The 20,000 acre fire is in rugged terrain with limited access. Residents on Long Alec Creek Road and Boulder Creek Road have been told to evacuate and residents in the Danville Area have been told to prepare for evacuation. - The Nine Mile Fire three miles west of Oroville has burned over 4,600 acres and has spread into British Columbia. Structures have burned but it has not been confirmed if they were homes. The fire is 30 percent contained. - The Tower Fire burning on the Washington-Idaho border north of Newport is now estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000 acres. The South Baldy Lookout Tower is threatened. - The Not Creative Fire grew to 120 acres south of I-90 near Rose Lake. Firefighters attempted to put a line around the fire with a bulldozer, but the fire jumped the west line. I-90 is not closed and drivers are being urged not to slow down to get a look at the fire.
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.