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>>

  • Skater dies from injuries in Riverfront Park accident

    Skater dies from injuries in Riverfront Park accident

    Sunday, January 21 2018 12:11 AM EST2018-01-21 05:11:18 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - City of Spokane Parks and Recreation officials confirmed Saturday night that a skater injured Friday at Riverfront Park has died from their injuries. The skater fell and was hurt, but additional details about the extent of the injuries were not available. “The City of Spokane is deeply saddened by this horrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family, and we send our deepest condolences,” said Mayor David Condon in a release Saturday.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - City of Spokane Parks and Recreation officials confirmed Saturday night that a skater injured Friday at Riverfront Park has died from their injuries. The skater fell and was hurt, but additional details about the extent of the injuries were not available. “The City of Spokane is deeply saddened by this horrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family, and we send our deepest condolences,” said Mayor David Condon in a release Saturday.

    >>
  • What you should do if you have the flu

    What you should do if you have the flu

    Thursday, January 18 2018 1:36 AM EST2018-01-18 06:36:55 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The number of flu cases continue to rise. In Spokane County, more than 300 people have been hospitalized because of it and 14 of them have died. So how do you know you have the flu? KHQ met with Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer. He says that the flu is a respiratory illness and if you have it, you’ll know it’s more than a cold. “You have the body aches. Everything hurts. I’ve had people tell me their eyes hurt, their hair hu...

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The number of flu cases continue to rise. In Spokane County, more than 300 people have been hospitalized because of it and 14 of them have died. So how do you know you have the flu? KHQ met with Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer. He says that the flu is a respiratory illness and if you have it, you’ll know it’s more than a cold. “You have the body aches. Everything hurts. I’ve had people tell me their eyes hurt, their hair hu...

    >>
  • Scammers target Spokane Valley grandmother

    Scammers target Spokane Valley grandmother

    Saturday, January 20 2018 9:59 PM EST2018-01-21 02:59:02 GMT

    Spokane Valley, Wash. Karen Viszneki phone rings off the hook. Starting before the sun rises and even after she goes to bed. On a typical day, Karen will receive over 50 different phone calls from scammers. Karen Viszneki signed up with Career Builder a job search engine website in hopes to find a job. “There’s a lot of stress there, to begin with, but I applied on career builder, and since then I would say a week or two receiving nonstop calls," said Karen. The calls

    >>

    Spokane Valley, Wash. Karen Viszneki phone rings off the hook. Starting before the sun rises and even after she goes to bed. On a typical day, Karen will receive over 50 different phone calls from scammers. Karen Viszneki signed up with Career Builder a job search engine website in hopes to find a job. “There’s a lot of stress there, to begin with, but I applied on career builder, and since then I would say a week or two receiving nonstop calls," said Karen. The calls

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/