Reinforcements called in to fight Northwest wildfires


by TONYA MOSLEY / KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on August 27, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 27 at 5:13 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -  The state on Friday dispatched more than 1,000 firefighters to battle a dozen wildfires in eastern Washington.

Even though the fires are on the east side of the state, lots of help is coming from Western Washington.

"A great deal of resources have been sent over and many of the resources are not completely exhausted but are getting to that point," said state Deputy Fire Marshall Karen Jones.

They join local, federal and Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters on blazes that were whipped up by winds that gusted to more than 40 mph on Thursday.

Calmer winds and cooler temperatures helped firefighters on Friday. There were no reports of injuries in the fires.

The most potentially destructive blaze appeared to be the Slide Creek fire near the Stevens County town of Arden, which had burned some 1,000 acres. About 145 homes were threatened by the fire, including 65 in which the residents were ordered to evacuate.

Albert Kassel of the state Department of Natural Resources said the fire burned two homes and seven outbuildings Thursday. About 400 firefighters were using bulldozers to try and contain the fire, which started when a tree fell on a power line.

"We have favorable conditions," Kassel said.

The Highway 8 Complex fire in rugged country near the Columbia River town of Lyle grew to 1,200 acres by Friday morning, he said. Residents of 40 homes faced mandatory evacuations, and people in another 50 homes were told to prepare to evacuate, Kassel said. Only one outbuilding had burned.

The Hubbard Fire, near the Columbia County town of Dayton, grew to about 11,000 acres and was 15 percent contained on Friday. Fire District 13 Chief Gary McVay sent over two of his guys along with a brush truck.

"Right now it sounds like the resources they called out, that they're getting things under control over there by calling out resources over there," said McVay.

The Fish Hatcheries Road fire near Republic in Ferry County grew to 650 acres, and about two-thirds had been surrounded by a fire line, Kassel said. Firefighters are wary about high winds predicted in that area, he said. No structures have burned.

Despite all the local resources being sent to Eastern Washington, residents on the west side of the mountains are being told to rest assured that they are protected as well.

"People can feel rest assured that there's plenty of equipment to respond to fires in their local jurisdiction," said Jones.


The U.S. Forest Service says lighter winds should help crews hold a wildfire above a housing subvidivion near Boise.

Forest Service spokeswoman Laura Pramuk says the Hurd Fire has more than doubled in size from 550 acres late Thursday to nearly 1,300 acres, or 2 square miles, early Friday.

The 50 lightning-caused blazes that erupted Thursday afternoon in southern Idaho and the Boise area come after an estimated 250 to 300 residents were evacuated from the Tamarack Resort area Thursday.

The Long Butte Fire that has burned nearly 480 square miles in the southern Idaho desert was 70 percent contained.