The raging Ford-Corkscrew fire took eight homes and ballooned on Monday night, more than doubling in size from 6,000 acres to more than 15,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters worked to bulldoze fire lines and kill ignitions to prevent the fire from reaching any more structures . As of Tuesday night, firefighters had not reached any containment on the fire, which is burning in a heavily wooded area east of Ford in Stevens County.
A group of residents whose homes were a couple miles or less from the fire hunkered down in the parking lot of a supermarket Tuesday with their possessions and pets. They had been there since Sunday, sleeping in their cars with their dogs.
“We were watching trees burst up in flames a couple miles away from the house,” Rod Haugen said next to his car and scattered belongings. “I didn’t get much sleep that night.”
Haugen and his friends waiting out the fire with him could only hope that the blaze wouldn’t make its way toward their homes.
Some people in the area, Haugen said, were hacking down trees and bushes near their homes to try to stop the fire from going through their properties. Others were making frequent trips out to their homes to grab as much as they could before the fire could burn everything.
Level 3 evacuations were in place for almost the entire area between Springdale, Loon Lake, Tum Tum, Clayton and Ford.
The evacuations have affected over 300 families, according to the fire’s public information officer, Isabelle Hoygaard.
Hoygaard said the eight homes and 12 minor structures destroyed were in rural, wooden areas mostly near Rail Canyon Road.
Near Ford, contracted water tenders waited next to a fire station and said they hoped big rainfall would come to help douse the fire. Close by, something that appeared to once be a shed was razed in a field of black earth and tree husks.
According to the National Weather Service in Spokane, storm cells later Tuesday night had potential to aid firefighters with suppression efforts. But, some of the stronger storms could bring lightning, which could ignite more fires in the area.
The fire, less than 30 miles away from downtown Spokane, had its effect on air quality in the area.
According to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, air quality was ‘unhealthy’ in Spokane by Tuesday night.
Evacuees can head to Deer Park High School, where the Red Cross is set up. The Springdale Rodeo Grounds is available for evacuated livestock and other animals.
Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5 will take control of firefighting efforts Wednesday morning.
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