A wildfire in the Colville National Forest burned an estimated 3,000 acres and spurred immediate evacuations, fire officials said on Thursday.
“It’s pretty gnarly up there,” Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team spokesman Don Malone said.
The wildfire, dubbed the Boulder Mountain fire, is on the north face of Calispell Peak in Pend Oreille County.
The Level 3 evacuations were ordered for residents in the Calispell Peak area, according to a Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post. The evacuation area is primarily accessed by Tacoma Creek Road, which is closed above Calicoma Road.
The Facebook post described the fire as “rapidly moving.” It said the fire started around 6 p.m. Wednesday and was reported at 30 acres at the time. The blaze was 100 times that size Thursday night.
There is a “high level” of resources on the fire, which had zero containment, Malone said.
“Access is tough” getting to the fire, he said.
A storm that rolled through the Inland Northwest Wednesday night caused 106 lightning strikes, which is likely the cause of the Boulder Mountain fire, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Charles Lassiter said.
The fire began on private property but quickly spread to the Colville National Forest, Lassiter said. There were 92 fires in northeast Washington since Aug. 25, and 15 fires in the past 24 hours, Lassiter said.
The area has a lot of campsites that will be unavailable through Labor Day weekend. Malone asked that people planning to camp in the area double-check before beginning their vacation.