Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 60° Clear
News >  Crime/Public Safety

Multiple fires close roads and forces evacuations, including new blazes near Mt. Spokane and Colville

UPDATED: Fri., July 23, 2021

Multiple fires closed roads and forced evacuations across Eastern Washington on Friday, including one fire near Mt. Spokane.

The Nelson Creek Fire is burning 30 to 40 acres northwest of Mt. Spokane near Elk. Heavy equipment and aircraft are on the scene, according to Washington State Department of Natural Resource Wildfire’s Twitter.

Level 2 evacuations have been ordered for North Madison Road east to North Jackson Road and East Bridges Road south to East Nelson Road, according to Spokane County Emergency Management.

Elsewhere, a new fire east of Colville closed State Route 20 at Milepost 372 and forced Level 2 evacuations in the areas of Black Lake and Spruce Canyon roads, according to the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office.

The fire is estimated at 80 to 100 acres, according Washington State DNR Wildfire’s Twitter.

In Idaho, a 50-acre wildfire near Silverwood theme park spurred evacuations of the park and neighborhoods around it.

The fire destroyed several outbuildings, but firefighters had good control of it, according to Chris Way, chief of Kootenai County Search and Rescue.

A growing 300-acre fire in Grant County closed a highway for an expected full day and forced immediate evacuations for residents.

The Northrup Canyon fire is located near Electric City, and firefighters had not been able to reach any containment levels as of this publication’s deadline Friday. The fire was still growing while burning in grass and sagebrush, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The fire began Thursday evening and forced a portion of State Route 155 north of Coulee City to close in both directions until further notice. According to WSDOT East, the road was expected to reopen Saturday morning but it was unclear whether that would happen due to the unpredictability of the wildfire.

Around 40 homes are under Level 2 evacuation orders in the Jones Bay community south of Electric City, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

Washington State Patrol authorized state firefighting resources on Friday. No cause of that fire has been determined.

Steptoe Canyon fire

Another fire that started Thursday in Whitman County north of Colton was still at 2,000 acres and was at 20% containment after firefighters were able to stem growth overnight.

No evacuation orders as of Friday afternoon were implemented for the area.

Fifteen fire engines, a helicopter, a plane and 150 personnel continued to battle the blaze.

Sherwood fire

One of the closest major fires to Spokane was 441 acres and 30% contained Friday, according to public information officer for the fire Guy Gifford.

The Sherwood fire burning on the Spokane Indian Reservation received additional firefighting resources on Friday, with 70 personnel, five planes, and three helicopters battling the blaze.

Evacuations remained in place on Friday, including for about 10 homes under Level 3 orders to leave immediately.

Chuweah Creek

A fire burning near Nespelem stayed relatively steady at around 36,000 acres as firefighters on the scene made progress to 45% containment, according to a news release from Northwest Incident Management Team 12.

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 downgraded to a Level 1 evacuation, as was the east side of Owhi Lake and Cache Creek Road, according to the Colville tribe’s fire page.

Closures of Cache Creek Road and Buffalo Lake Road between Manila and Cache Creek Road remained.

The fire began earlier this month due to a lightning strike, and multiple aircraft and engines have been combating the flames.

Summit Trail

A fire about 17 miles west of Inchelium caused by lightning grew on Thursday, according to the Northeast Washington Fire Information page on Facebook.

The blaze grew to about 6,943 acres, and was only 2% contained.

A California fire team, California Incident Management Team 10, is leading operations on battling the blaze.

The Twin Lakes communities remain in a Level 1 evacuation.

Cub Creek 2 and Cedar Creek Fires

Two large fires grew on Thursday around the Methow Valley with little containment for either.

The Cub Creek 2 fire is estimated at 40,878 acres with 5% containment, while the Cedar Creek Fire is estimated at 20,806 acres and 11% containment.

Another California fire crew, California Incident Management Team 1, assumed control of the Cub Creek 2 fire on Thursday. Northwest Incident Management Team 8 continues to fight the fire in Cedar Creek.

Over 800 firefighters, eight helicopters and almost 50 engines are battling the two fires.

Level 3 evacuations for the Chewuch River Drainage are in place.

Lick Creek

Firefighters continue to steadily get the Lick Creek fire near Asotin under control, reaching 55% containment levels on Friday, according to the Umatilla National Forest .

The fire appeared to grow to 76,528 acres on Friday, but this was due to interior burning in unburned pockets that are filling in naturally.

Crews were continuing to mop up around the fire perimeter and patrol for hot spots with aerial reconnaissance.

A blaze nearby, known as the Green Ridge Fire, grew to 3,915 acres Thursday and stayed at 15% containment.

Asotin County downgraded the Grouse Flats evacuation zone from a Level 2 to a Level 1. The Level 1 Evacuation for Groverland and Anetone evacuations have been dropped. Garfield and Columbia Counties Level 1 Evacuations remain in place.

Character Complex

In Idaho, the Character Complex Fire, which is composed of the Deceitful and Prichard fires, is still a challenge for firefighters, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Deceitful Fire grew to 3,215 acres on Friday and was zero percent contained, and has proven difficult for firefighters to manage because it is in a heavily wooded and inaccessible area.

Containment grew on the Prichard Fire, which was 1,239 acres and 40% contained, with firefighters making progress completing, improving and securing fire lines.

The total size of the complex fire is 4,473 acres.

Cougar Rock Complex fire

A lightning fire east of Elk River grew to 5,159 acres and was 25% contained, according to Idaho Department of Lands.

Westerly winds on Thursday caused the fire activity to increase overnight as over 350 personnel worked to increase containment.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.