State resources ordered for two fires burning near Elmer City an - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

State resources ordered for two fires burning near Elmer City and Grand Coulee

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This photo was taken by Dean Thompson, a firefighter with Hartline District 6 Fire Department. This photo was taken by Dean Thompson, a firefighter with Hartline District 6 Fire Department.
This photo shows the 230 Yard Fire burning abover Grand Coulee Dam. Courtesy - Mike Campbell This photo shows the 230 Yard Fire burning abover Grand Coulee Dam. Courtesy - Mike Campbell
OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. -

UPDATE: Monday 12:00 p.m., September 12, 2016

230 Switch Yard Fire:

Fire officials say the 230 Switch Yard Fire is estimated to be a little more than 500 acres and growing. The fire is still threatening the city of Grand Coulee and powerlines in the area. Evacuation orders have been lifted, however, and State Route 155 remains partially closed. 

Mt. Tollman Fire:
Fire crews are continuing to battle two fires burning near Elmer City and Grand Coulee. Both fires broke out Sunday afternoon fueled by strong winds in the area.

According to Okanogan County Emergency Management, the Mt. Tollman Fire (also being called the Elmer City Fire) broke out just north of Elmer City but fire crews were able to protect the city as the flames pushed up the hillside and around the city while continuing south. So far no buildings have burned but several power poles caught fire, knocking out electric power to a few customers of Nespelem Valley Electric. Crews worked hard overnight to get power back on and as of 11:49 p.m. Sunday night, only one pole still needed to be replaced.

As of 7:40 a.m. Monday morning the fire is estimated to be about 2,000 acres and 75% contained.

Winds are predicted to pick up again today so level one evacuations remain in effect for the area as the fire has the potential to hook around and move back west towards Coulee Dam and Elmer City.

State Route 155 was initially closed between Belvedere and Coulee Dam but is currently open. Authorities say those traveling in the area should use caution due to fire personnel and equipment in the area.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but a power line slap (one wire touching the other due to gusty winds) is being looked at.

UPDATE: (Monday, 8:30 a.m.)

Mt. Tollman Fire:
Fire crews are continuing to battle two fires burning near Elmer City and Grand Coulee. Both fires broke out Sunday afternoon fueled by strong winds in the area.

According to Okanogan County Emergency Management, the Mt. Tollman Fire (also being called the Elmer City Fire) broke out just north of Elmer City but fire crews were able to protect the city as the flames pushed up the hillside and around the city while continuing south. So far no buildings have burned but several power poles caught fire, knocking out electric power to a few customers of Nespelem Valley Electric. Crews worked hard overnight to get power back on and as of 11:49 p.m. Sunday night, only one pole still needed to be replaced.

As of 7:40 a.m. Monday morning the fire is estimated to be about 2,000 acres and 75% contained.

Winds are predicted to pick up again today so level one evacuations remain in effect for the area as the fire has the potential to hook around and move back west towards Coulee Dam and Elmer City.

State Route 155 was initially closed between Belvedere and Coulee Dam but is currently open. Authorities say those traveling in the area should use caution due to fire personnel and equipment in the area.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but a power line slap (one wire touching the other due to gusty winds) is being looked at.

230 Yard Fire
The fire burning closer to Grand Coulee is being called the 230 Yard Fire because of its proximity to the switch yard for the 230 kilovolt transmission lines which distribute power generated by the Grand Coulee Dam. That fire is burning west of the Columbia River, above Coulee Dam. It has burned in both Douglas and Grant Counties, threatening the cities of Coulee Dam and Grand Coulee. As of 11:00 pm the fire was still active but had laid down.

As of 8:30 a.m. Monday, the fire has burned an estimated 500 acres and is 40% contained. Level One evacuation notices have been canceled. No significant fire activity has occurred overnight or this morning. There has been some damage to utility poles in the area but no structures have burned and no injuries have been reported.

The next update will be this evening. State resources have been called on scene to relieve local firefighters.

PREVIOUS:
Okanogan County Emergency Management reports a fast moving brush fire is burning near Elmer City north of Coulee Dam.

Right now Okanogan County Emergency Management reports a level 1 evacuation notice has been issued in the area by Mt. Tollman fire center for a fast moving fire heading south and south east of Elmer City. All persons should be aware of their surroundings and be ready for possible evacuation.

Trooper Brian Moore with Washington State Patrol reports strong winds in the area mean the fire is quickly changing. State Route 155 is closed due to the fire.

There is no estimated size or containment for the fire yet.

Crews are fighting the fire from the air and the ground Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, Grant County officials there is a second fire burning on the west side of the Columbia River near Coulee Dam and Grand Coulee. State Route 174 is closed at SR 155 for that fire.

The fire is being pushed by 10-20 mph winds.

People in Grand Coulee. Coulee Dam and Elmer City areas need to remain aware of the fire conditions and stand by for any evacuation requests.

We are working to get more information and as soon as we have more information we will update you.

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