Fires continued to torch the Spokane region Tuesday, with no relief in the near future due to expected dry lightning storms, hot temperatures and low humidity.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning until Wednesday afternoon. The weather service said lightning from thunderstorms combined with dry, breezy conditions would add to fire risk.
Robin Fox, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Spokane, said air quality remained good Tuesday, but that probably won’t last.
Winds from the southwest, as well as fires burning north of Spokane, will likely push smoke toward Spokane on Wednesday, Fox said.
“That’s something we’ll be watching,” she said. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”
The Spokane Clean Air Agency said smoke from surrounding fires would likely affect air quality for Wednesday, with Spokane in the moderate air quality range.
Here is information on fires burning in the Eastern Washington area:
A fire burning near Nespelem continued to actively spread Tuesday, according to the Colville Tribes 2021 active fires page.
As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the fire grew to 36,177 acres and was 40% contained. Level 1 evacuation orders, which means residents need to be aware of danger in the area, stayed in place for Nespelem, Keller, Buffalo Lake, McGinnis Lake and the San Poil Valley.
Owhi Flats was also reduced to a level one evacuation, as was the east side of Owhi Lake and Cache Creek Road, according to the tribe’s fire page.
Officials closed Cache Creek Road and Buffalo Lake Road between Manila and Cache Creek Road.
Crews used air and ground resources to combat the fire, though officials said they were impeded by drones in the area.
Crews made progress on a fire about 17 miles west of Inchelium on Tuesday morning, according to the Northeast Washington Fire Information page on Facebook.
The blaze held at 4,650 acres and did show some spotting that the fire incident management team snuffed before it became a problem, according to Northeast Washington Fire Information.
Goddard Road Fire
The fire near Rice grew to 674 acres and was 25% contained on Tuesday morning. The red flag warning in place for the area meant the firefighting efforts would be affected by wind and drought conditions.
The Red Apple Fire near Monitor in Chelan County grew to 12,288 acres and was 90% contained as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Chelan County Emergency Management.
All evacuation orders were lifted Monday, though a level 1 order stood for the unpaved portion of Burch Mountain Road as of Tuesday afternoon.
Crews continued efforts on a fire burning about 15 miles southeast of Pomeroy. As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, the fire grew to 73,190 acres and was 45% contained, according to the Umatilla National Forest.
Level 1 evacuation orders were in place for the upper Asotin County area near the Asotin Wildlife Area, according to evacuation maps provided by the national forest.
Level 2 evacuation orders, which means residents needed to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, held for residents living near the Chief Joseph State Wildlife, Cougar Creek and Buford Ridge areas.
All Forest Service roads, campgrounds and lands within the Umatilla National Forest were closed to the public as of Tuesday afternoon.
Crews made progress on the blaze, lowering activity in the area as they contained the fire perimeter at the South Fork at Asotin Creek and Peola Road, according to the Umatilla National Forest.
Nearby, the Green Ridge Fire grew to 2,086 acres and was 15% contained as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Level 1 evacuations held for Hartsock Grade Road, Eckler Mountain Snow Park, Kendall Skyline Road, east of Midway Campground to the Columbia-Garfield county line, north and west along the county line, and west and south along the forest to County Road 1931.
The fire grew toward the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness on Tuesday.
Snake River Complex
A fire about 20 miles south of Lewiston continued to burn more than 100,000 acres Tuesday afternoon, with containment at 70%, according to the Idaho Department of Lands.
The Idaho Department of Lands said Tuesday they would host a community meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday at Winchester Community Center in Winchester, Idaho.
Level 2 evacuation orders held for Forest, Marek, and Morrowtown area residents. The Nez Perce Sheriff’s Office also set level 2 evacuations for Stagecoach Road, as well as residents on Redbird Road, Waha Glen, Waha Road and all spur roads.
Level 3 evacuations were set for Zaza and Deer Creek roads.
Road closures for the Forest and Morrowtown Roads remained, with an exception for residents and emergency personnel.
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.