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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Here’s a list of major fires contributing to Spokane’s smoky air

Dozens of fires are burning in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Here’s a breakdown of the major ones.

Central Washington

Jolly Mountain fire

Ellensburg and Kittitas School Districts will close school until at least Monday, Sept. 11 due to increasingly poor air quality, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.

Additional help from the Washington National Guard on Wednesday helped spur fire containment to about 5 percent, and by Friday the fire was 8 percent contained. The fire didn’t grow between Thursday and Friday. It’s now at 26,325 acres, or 41 square miles.

About 350 guardsmen have been deployed on seven fires to provide an assist with everything from helping on fire lines to controlling traffic, said Cpt. Joseph Siemandel.

Norse Peak fire

The fire grew to 45,433 acres as of Thursday night. It was 8 percent contained.

About 11 miles north of Cliffdell off Chinook Pass and spanning two counties, the fire continues to threaten multiple structures on the western, Pierce County side of the blaze.

In Yakima County, there is a level three evacuation order for Goose Prairie along Bumping River Road. In Pierce County, a level three evacuation has been ordered for the Silver Springs Campground, Silver Creek, Deep Creek, Goat Creek, Alta Community, Pick Handle Basin, Goat Creek, Gold Hill Community and the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort area.

Crews were able to run a sprinkler system at Gold Hill, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported, and laid similar groundwork for setups throughout Pierce County.

Diamond Creek fire

Still large, but slowing, this 164-square mile blaze remained hung up in rocky terrain just over Butte Pass at the head of Monument Creek, despite heavy smoke from a continued inversion, firefighters wrote on InciWeb, the national wildfire information service. Southeast winds spurred the majority of growth to the northwest in Canada.

As of Friday the fire was 105,000 acres and 65 percent contained.

Firefighters expect some growth along most areas of the fire due to near record-high temperatures and low humidity. Ground crews will continue to work on defensive lines around communities, especially in the Mazama area.

Bridge Creek fire

Crews continue to mop up the last of hot spots and work to fully contain the blaze. It’s 3,711 acres and 95 percent contained as of Friday.

Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho

North Fork Hughes fire

The fire has crossed the Bench Creek drainage and continues backing to the south near Hughes Meadows, firefighters wrote on InciWeb. They continue to patrol and monitor the Sullivan Creek Road as the fire backs down on the northwest flank.

At 3,520 acres the fires size didn’t change between Wednesday and Friday, according to InciWeb. The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain.

Western Montana

A series of fires continues to grow near Missoula. Weather experts say the wildfire smoke hovering over a large portion of the Pacific Northwest is due to an inversion system keeping smoke in the area. A majority of the smoke in the area is from wildfires in Montana, which cover more than 750,000 acres, or 1,171 square miles.

The Sprague fire

Firefighters predicted “moderate fire activity” in the next 24 hours, according to InciWeb. Firefighters will continue structure protection and fuel mitigation efforts at the north end of Lake McDonald Road for the Lake McDonald Ranger Station and Wheeler historic cabins.

They will continue to implement structure protection at Avalanche Creek Campground and boardwalk. Additionally firefighters will continue mop up efforts in the Sperry Chalet complex area.

It’s at 13,275 acres and is 35 percent contained.

Rice Ridge fire

On Thursday the fire was active, according to InciWeb. Firefighters continue to monitor homes in the Seele/Double Arrow area as well as structures near the Placid Lake area.

The fire is at 122,843 acres and 5 percent contained.

Liberty fire

Fire containment is still at 17 percent. The fire is at 24,610 acres.

Highway 200 Complex

About 500 residents were threatened by this series of four fires. Evacuations have been lifted for Sheep Gap Fire from the end of River Road to Arnold Road, at the corner of Section 11, firefighters wrote on InciWeb. However, fire officials warned residents that conditions could change and urged people to “have an evacuation plan in place.”

As with the Sprague fire, firefighters say lingering smoke has helped dampen activity on these fires as well. The Highway Complex, burning in the Lolo National Forest, is composed of the Sheep Gap, Deep Creek, Cub Creek and Reader fires.

Sheep Gap is 11,346 acres and 15 percent contained. Deep Creek is 4,666 acres. Cub Creek is 3,091 acres. The Reader fire is 152 acres and 50 percent contained.

The Miller Creek fire is 556 acres. It is unstaffed due to limited resources but is being monitored.

There will be a community meetingat the Thompson Falls High School on Friday at 7 p.m. There will be another meeting on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Plains High School at 7 p.m.

Caribou fire

The fire was 18,644 acres and is 25 percent contained.

Sapphire Complex

Composed of the Goat Creek, Sliderock, and Little Hogback fires, this blaze has overtaken 43,516 acres of Lolo National Forest. At 53 percent containment, firefighters wrote in InciWeb that the plan moving forward is to monitor the fire and reinforce fire lines where needed.

Lolo Peak fire

Crews completed a 120-acre burnout operation south of Sweeney Creek recently in hopes of containing the 49,123-acre blaze. It is 35 percent contained.

Western Oregon

Eagle Creek fire

Information compiled by the Oregonian newspaper:

  • 33,382: acres
  • 1,865: residents evacuated
  • 400: animals, mostly livestock, evacuated since it began
  • 928: firefighters working the fire
  • 20: miles of Columbia River restricted
  • 40: miles of Interstate 84 closed
  • 2: visits by Gov. Kate Brown since fire began
  • 31: years the area has been designated a national scenic area
  • 75: waterfalls in the gorge
  • 4 million: visitors to Multnomah Falls each year
  • 295,000 acres: size of Columbia River Scenic Area

On Thursday firefighters said they began to contain the Eagle Creek fire. According to an update on Thursday the fire is 5 percent contained. Calmer conditions on Wednesday allowed fire crews to make containment progress.

The fire has made local and national headlines as it continues to burn unchecked in the Columbia River Gorge.

A 15-year-old, who is believed to have started the fire by misusing fireworks, will not be named, Oregon State Police officials told Oregon media.

Updated Friday, Sept. 8.