Wind still causing problems for firefighters near Grand Coulee

Wind still causing problems for firefighters near Grand Coulee

Credit: Frank Ayers

Wind still causing problems for firefighters near Grand Coulee

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 9:32 PM

GRAND COULEE, Wash. -- Wind continues to cause problems for firefighters battling two large wildfires in the Northeast corner of Douglas County.

Lightning sparked the fires the night of September 8. They are identified as the Barker Canyon Fire and the Leahey Fire.

The Barker Canyon Fire was called in at 8:00 p.m. Saturday from an area five miles west of Grand Coulee dam. Tuesday morning, the fire had grown to about 14,227 acres in size. Fire units from throughout the state have been called in to battle the fire. In addition to road graders from Douglas County, bulldozers and helicopters were called in to help establish fire lines.  Highway 174 is closed periodically between Leahey Junction and Coulee Dam due to smoke and fire resources on the roadway. Officials say high winds are making the firefighting extremely difficult. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has set up a mobile command post at North Dam Park near Coulee Dam.

On the night of September 8th, 2012 a storm brought lightning strikes throughout Douglas and Chelan County.  There were a total of 16 fire calls during the evening in Douglas County.  There are two large fires currently burning.  They are identified as the Barker Canyon Fire and the Leahey Fire.  The fires are in the NE corner of Douglas County.

The Leahey Fire was reported at approximately 8:00 p.m. Saturday near Leahy Junction. It had grown to at least 13,000 Tuesday morning. It is also moving very quickly due to high winds.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Coulee Dam Police have given out approximately 75 Level 1 to Level 3 evacuation notices.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Senior Center in Grand Coulee.

There have been no reported injuries. Grant County Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal said plans are in place to turn incident command of the fires over to a state incident command team by Tuesday evening.

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