The Ford-Corkscrew Fire in Stevens County grew to 15,000 acres by Thursday morning with 14% containment, but some relief may be in sight from lighter winds, rain and lower temperatures
The fire “has experienced extreme fire behavior since its start, including intense spotting and high rates of spread,” fire officials said. It’s also been threatening critical infrastructure, including cell phone towers.
The Stevens County Fire District No. 1 said in a Facebook post the winds had pushed the fire back on itself, helping to slow the growth of the fast-moving brush fire that started Sunday afternoon north of Spokane.
Evacuations remained for the towns of Ford, Tum Tum, Clayton and Springdale while officials used bulldozer crews, ground and air resources to contain the blaze.
Level 3 “go now” orders were set for the town of Ford west of State Route 231 to Stephenson Road, as well as the areas between SR 292 and 293.
The towns of Clayton and Loon Lake were given Level 2 “be ready” orders, which meant residents should be packed and ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
Springdale kept Level 1 orders in place, which meant residents had to be aware of danger in their area but did not have to leave.
Road closures included SR 231 between milepost 50 from the Ford-Wellpinit Road to Hidden Road and milepost 60 northwest of Spokane. Rail Canyon, McAlister and Scott’s Valley roads were also closed Thursday.
Smoke was expected to linger in the area, but the fire district said the visibility had gotten better for air support helping firefighting efforts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is helping fund the cost to fight the fire as of Monday, the agency announced. The Ford aid marks the sixth time the federal agency has helped fund a Washington wildfire effort this year.
Ken Daniel, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Spokane, said winds for the next few days were expected to stay under 10 mph and travel west, meaning Spokane and nearby areas will likely remain in moderate air quality.
The temperatures will also likely stay lower, as Spokane experienced a welcomed cold front this week that also brought higher humidity and chances of rain for Spokane and the region. Thunderstorms were expected to sweep through the region Thursday, with more rain forecast for Friday and Saturday, Daniel said.
“We are certainly hoping for some measurable rain, which will hopefully help fire activity,” Daniel said.
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