Fires ring Spokane within minutes, scorching thousands of acres
Sun., Aug. 21, 2016
A fast-moving wildfire approaches homes on the north side of Beacon Hill, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)Buy a print of this photo
Wildfires exploded around the Spokane region faster than firefighters could race to them Sunday as hot, windy weather drove flames through parched fields and forests and into residential areas.
Hundreds of residents fled their homes in Spokane and Lincoln counties after three fires broke out in quick succession early in the afternoon. Weather forecasters had warned of highly dangerous conditions across the Inland Northwest.
Homes burned in the Beacon Hill area in Spokane, in wheat country near Spangle and north of Davenport. The extent of the losses were unclear Sunday night as firefighters prepared to work through the night. No injuries or deaths were reported.
With little notice, people piled their children, pets and keepsakes into cars and trucks and hit the road, while others hauled livestock out of harm’s way.
Together the blazes scorched over 3,000 acres and sent plumes of smoke billowing high over the region. The wind blew ash to the east, where it fell across North Idaho.
Residents evacuating from the Beacon Hill-area fire on Spokane’s northeast end met other homeowners trying to get into their properties, only to be met with roadblocks. Many were left wondering if their homes would be spared.
One woman waited anxiously to reunite with her 5-year-old son, who was at his grandparents’ home near the fire.
The largest of the fires began when a power line came down in a field near Spangle. It raced across the parched landscape, consuming wheat stubble, brush and trees – and a few homes.
North of Davenport the 1,000-acre Hart Road fire jumped the Spokane River several times and threatened scores of homes. Several were lost.
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