Crews hope to contain fire near Okanogan today - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Crews hope to contain fire near Okanogan today

Pictures courtesy of Ernie Buchanan of the Fire near Okanogan Pictures courtesy of Ernie Buchanan of the Fire near Okanogan
Picture courtesy of Merle Root of the fire near Malott Picture courtesy of Merle Root of the fire near Malott

OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. -  Firefighters battling the Jackass Butte fire near Okanogan said they hoped to have the fire contained by the end of the day Thursday.

The fire, which began following a July 1 lightning storm, is the largest in Okanogan County and has burned more than 1,000 acres.  At last report, several small outbuildings had been destroyed and at least a dozen homes were evacuated along with the Okanogan Bingo Casino and the Okanogan Inn.

Fifteen residences were threatened by the fire Wednesday and approximately 12 people had been evacuated.

U.S. Highway 97 was shut down for several hours overnight Tuesday because of low visibility from smoke but it re-opened early Wednesday morning.

State fire assistance was mobilized Wednesday to support local firefighters working to contain the fire. Mobilization specialists from the Fire Protection Bureau have ordered three strike teams of wildland engines (15 engines), one water tender strike team (5 tenders), a Type 3 Incident Management Team, a helicopter, and 2 dozers to supplement the resources already fighting the fire.

More than 30 people are fighting the fire and officials with the State Fire Marshal's Office say they're sending in more resources, including three strike teams, two bulldozers and a helicopter.     

Fire crews are also battling another fire in Okanogan County near Malott, north of Brewster. The Department of Natural Resources says that at least 300 acres are charred with at least five structures threatened.

Closer to Spokane, the Porcupine Bay fire near Wellpinit, which was sparked when lightning ignited dry brush or trees as a storm system moved through the area on Tuesday, was at 10 acres at last report.

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