Wildfire 30 percent contained in Okanogan County - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wildfire 30 percent contained in Okanogan County

OKANOGAN, Wash. - A weekend fire destroyed at least two homes and perhaps a dozen other buildings, according to officials with the Department of Natural Resources. 

Cooler temperatures and lighter winds kept the fire from growing rapidly on Saturday, but authorities cautioned that conditions could change.  On Monday morning fire officials estimated the fire burned around 8,592 acres southwest of Okanogan along Highway 20 and the fire was reported to be 30 percent contained.

Authorities say they expect to have fire fighters on-scene for at least a week. Crews are still working to determine how many barns and sheds known as "out-buildings" were destroyed. A schoolhouse built in the late 1800s is also among the structures burned.  Fire officials said Monday morning that so far the fire has destroyed two primary residences and one unoccupied recreational home. 

People living near Pleasant Valley Road say strong winds Friday afternoon prompted the fire to spread quickly. "The wind was extremely strong," said Bryan Freel, who was at work when the fire started.  "When I got here (home), there were flames up north a mile." Fire destroyed a small building on his property and smoke damaged the inside of his home, but the house he built is still standing.

Authorities ordered a Level 3 evacuation to approximately 50 homes on Friday.  Level 3 is the highest order and urges homeowners to leave immediately, according to a DNR spokesman. That evacuation order was lifted and the area was placed on a Level 2 evacuation order Saturday afternoon prompting the Red Cross to close an emergency shelter it opened at Okanogan Middle School.

Authorities cautioned residents they should still consider staying out of their homes and could be ordered to leave if conditions changed Two tanker planes and at least one plane could be seen in the sky around the fire scene. Highway 20 remains closed between B & O road in Okanogan and the town of Twisp, about 30 miles away.

Sunday afternoon 101 additional homes were placed on a level 2 evacuation notice in the Chiliwist Rd. area.

Fire burned along the edge of the highway and destroyed the root system of several trees forcing them to fall along the road. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers expects Highway 20 to remain closed all weekend. "We'll see what happens Monday," he said.

One person has been injured fighting the fire after the inmate crew member sustained an ankle injury Sunday.

The cause of the fire is unknown.  An investigator is trying to determine how and where the fire started.

Anthony Gomes
KHQ Local News

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 13 semi-trucks park under Detroit overpass to help man considering suicide

    13 semi-trucks park under Detroit overpass to help man considering suicide

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 12:41 PM EDT2018-04-24 16:41:55 GMT

    DETROIT - 13 semi-truck drivers parked their big rigs under a highway overpass early Tuesday morning to help shorten the fall of a man who was threatening to jump.  All lanes of Highway 696 were closed early Tuesday morning after a call came in just before 1:00 a.m. of a man threatening to jump.  

    >>

    DETROIT - 13 semi-truck drivers parked their big rigs under a highway overpass early Tuesday morning to help shorten the fall of a man who was threatening to jump.  All lanes of Highway 696 were closed early Tuesday morning after a call came in just before 1:00 a.m. of a man threatening to jump.  

    >>
  • Big new pedestrian bridge in Spokane finally has a name

    Big new pedestrian bridge in Spokane finally has a name

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 5:17 PM EDT2018-04-24 21:17:03 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A big new pedestrian bridge at the edge of the University District near downtown Spokane finally has a name.    The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday night to dub the $12 million span for pedestrians and cyclists "The University District Gateway Bridge." 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A big new pedestrian bridge at the edge of the University District near downtown Spokane finally has a name.    The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday night to dub the $12 million span for pedestrians and cyclists "The University District Gateway Bridge." 

    >>
  • Pierce County woman wakes up to stranger in her house rubbing her face

    Pierce County woman wakes up to stranger in her house rubbing her face

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 1:11 AM EDT2018-04-24 05:11:05 GMT

    PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A Pierce County woman was terrified over the weekend when she woke up to a stranger in her house rubbing her face. She ran to her neighbor's house and the neighbor contacted the Pierce County Sheriff's Office at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Arriving deputies spoke with the neighbor who called 911. 

    >>

    PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A Pierce County woman was terrified over the weekend when she woke up to a stranger in her house rubbing her face. She ran to her neighbor's house and the neighbor contacted the Pierce County Sheriff's Office at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Arriving deputies spoke with the neighbor who called 911. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/