STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. — A wildfire is forcing evacuations near Lake Spokane (Long Lake).
As of Thursday Afternoon:
- 30% contained
- The fire had spread across 1,016 acres, according to fire crews at the scene. The wildfire is forcing evacuations as flames threaten more than 60 buildings.
- Level 2 Evacuation - Be ready to leave within the hour if you live along State Route 291 between Corkscrew Canyon and State Route 231.
- Level 3 Evacuation - Evacuate immediately if you live along State Route 231 between Corkscrew Canyon and State Route 291.
- State Route 231 was closed in both directions from State Route 291 to Corkscrew Canyon due to the wildfire, but the stretch of road reopened late Wednesday night.
- Lake Campground has been closed to the public due to wildfire fighting efforts
Fire crews at the scene said the thick, dry brush was creating heavy smoke. A fire official said the weather could change everything. The official said a little wind in the right spot could cause issues. The official added there were some flare ups within the containment perimeter on Thursday.
Fire spokesman Guy Gifford told KREM 2 crews had established a trail around the fire so as of Thursday morning, the wildfire was no longer growing. The wildfire was still not contained, however.
Fire crews said numerous factors, including cooler temperatures and increased humidity, helped them get a handle on the fire Thursday. Firefighters surrounded the fire with a trail and dozer lines.
Firefighters from all across the region are helping fight the flames. Air crews came in from in Coeur d’Alene, Wentachee and Moses Lake. Firefighters were called in from Spokane and Stevens County. Gifford said Wednesday evening about 100 firefighters were on the lines with planes and helicopters dropping water and retardant. A couple hundred more firefighters from around the state were expected to join those crews Thursday. The Department of Natural Resources also planned to send resources to help fight the wildfire.
Gifford said he was not aware of any damage to homes. Several firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.
The Red Cross opened a shelter for people affected by the fire. The shelter was set up at Lakeside High School in Nine Mile Falls.
The shelter manager said only about a half-dozen people stopped by to pick up some water or food Wednesday night. Red Cross officials were discussing shutting the facility Thursday since it was not being used.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also announced Thursday it had authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Lake Spokane Fire.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report