Central Washington wildfires containment improving - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Central Washington wildfires containment improving

Wildfire in North-Central Washington near Omak Wildfire in North-Central Washington near Omak
Smoke from the Smith Lake Fire, about five miles west of Coulee Dam Smoke from the Smith Lake Fire, about five miles west of Coulee Dam
Smoke from the Smith Lake Fire, about five miles west of Coulee Dam Smoke from the Smith Lake Fire, about five miles west of Coulee Dam
Smith Lake Fire, about five miles west of Coulee Dam Smith Lake Fire, about five miles west of Coulee Dam
The Smith Lake Fire, viewed from across the river at the Colville Indian Reservation near Grand Coulee Dam. The Smith Lake Fire, viewed from across the river at the Colville Indian Reservation near Grand Coulee Dam.

OMAK, Wash. - A wildfire in north-central Washington near Omak has now burned 2,600 acres Friday and threatened about 50 homes, while a second blaze has now blackened at least 12,513 acres near Coulee Dam.

The Smith Lake fire burned 3000 acres just overnight Friday and moved within one mile-and-a-half of the dam. Douglas County fire officials say though the fire is still burning through brush and scrub, and threatening some high-voltage power lines, it is not moving quickly and is about 75% contained.

The Washington State Patrol said Friday the Smith Lake Fire started around 9:45 a.m. Friday about five miles west of Coulee Dam near State Route 174. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

At one point the fire threatened about 12 homes and forced the evacuation of about 24 people under the highest level evacuation order. By Sunday morning all evacuation notices and road closures were lifted for residents in the area.

No structures have been damaged by the fire and no injuries have been reported.

The Green Lake Fire near Omak, which had expanded to 2,600 acres by Saturday, broke out about 5 p.m. on Thursday, reportedly in a pump house, but the cause is still under investigation.

Gusting winds Friday helped the fire grow significantly but Saturday winds stayed in the 3-8 mph range, slowing the fire considerably. Officials said Saturday evening the fire was about 50% contained.

About 550 firefighters were at the scene Saturday, about seven miles northwest of Omak.

Friday about 50 residents were warned they might have to leave if the fire grows, but no mandatory evacuations were issued. A Department of Natural Resources spokesperson said a handful of people left on their own.
     
One pumhouse has been confirmed destroyed, but no injuries have been reported.
      
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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