Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 43° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Eastern Washington fires still burning

As forest fires continue to burn in Eastern Washington, all open burning has been banned in unincorporated Stevens County and officials have the option of filing criminal charges if a fire is started by fireworks. All of the areas where fires are burning are under a Red Flag Warning today, meaning that a combination of low humidity, high heat and winds could cause fires to spread rapidly. Two of the three fires were largely kept from spreading overnight, but the possibility of high winds today has firefighters on edge. Yesterday the 21 Mile Grade fire north of Keller, Washington, jumped the fire line on the northeast and southwest borders but crews were able to get it back under control, said fire information officer Kathy Moses. “They’ve been using a lot of retardant on the north, the east and the south sides,” Moses said. The western edge of the fire is held back by the San Poil River. Steep and rocky terrain to the north of the fire has hampered efforts to put in a fire line. The fire was estimated at 2,000 acres mid-day Saturday and is expected to grow today. “The wind is coming in,” she said. “The fire behavior could be erratic at times.” The Rail Canyon Fire near Springdale is still estimated at between 600 and 700 acres, said Eric Keller of the Department of Natural Resources. “It’s about the same size it was last night,” he said. At least one fire official has said the fire was caused by fireworks, but Keller said the cause is officially under investigation. “We still have an investigator out there looking at it,” he said. Two residences were destroyed along with several outbuildings. The fire is not contained. “They have a line around some of it on the south and the east sides,” Keller said. Evacuation notices were lifted Saturday and residents have been allowed to return to their homes. “It’s burning away from the houses right now,” Keller said. The Williams Fire near Colville grew only a few acres overnight and is now estimated at 280 acres. A handful of homes are under level three evacuation notice, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Jeff Sevigney, which means people have been advised to leave. A much larger number of residents closed to the Colville city limits are being told to prepare in case they need to evacuate. “The fire is definitely still active,” said Sevigney. Stevens County Fire District 3 has requested help from several local fire districts to fight the fire, but crews are being spread thin. “I think every incident is hurting for resources,” said Sevigney. “There’s only so many firefighters to go around.” The Red Cross has two shelters for residents displaced by the fires, one at Colville High School that opened at noon today and another at Mary Walker High School in Springdale. The Springdale shelter housed a dozen firefighters and a displaced resident overnight and four additional residents registered Saturday morning, said Red Cross executive director Megan Snow.
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 now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.