A wind-fueled fire that began in a single-wide trailer Sunday morning on the reservation of the Spokane Tribe of Indians had spread to 25 acres by early evening, according to Stevens County Fire District 1.
The fire started on the 4700 block of Reservation Road near the reservation’s eastern border with Stevens County. Officials initially issued evacuation notices for residents Stevens County and reservation residents, but canceled them just after 5:30 p.m. after crews completed a containment line, according to Spokane Tribal Fire Management.
One of the homeowners under an initial evacuation order was Raymond Peone, 68, who lives in a home on Reservation Road with his wife and four grandchildren. Peone said fire engines arrived on scene after 9 a.m., and he stepped outside to take out the trash and see where they were headed.
“I looked south, and all I could see was smoke,” Peone said, as he hosed down his property Sunday afternoon.
Flames came within several hundred feet of the family’s home, which was uncomfortably close to his barn, he said.
“It was knocking at the side of it (the barn), then all of a sudden the wind changed,” he said.
It’s the closest a wildfire has threatened his property since the firestorm of 1991, Peone added.
Stevens County 911 Coordinator Rick Anderson said the sheriff’s office contacted 50 homes by either landline, cellphone or email. Stevens County deputies and tribal police were also going door to door to notify residents in the area, he said.
Stevens County Fire District 1 reported crews stopped the forward progress of the fire at 3:30 p.m. Multiple aircraft dropped water on the fire in the early afternoon.
The Spokane Tribe, Stevens County Fire District 1 and the Washington Department of Natural Resources responded to the fire.
The cause of the initial structure fire is still under investigation, according to Stevens County Fire District 1.
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.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.