UPDATE, August 15:
The Williams Flats Fire burning over 45,000 acres on the Colville Reservation has moved up to 80 percent containment.
The fire containment has improved by 15 percent the past couple days, going from 50 to 65 Wednesday and 65 to 80 Thursday.
Firefighters are working to strengthen and secure lines around the fire. Crews say due to no rain as of late, unburned fuels and islands have been drying out and have a chance to start burning in the interior of the fire.
Crews say visible smoke is likely from the surrounding area.
Level 1 evacuations remain in place.
UPDATE, August 13:
The Williams Flats Fire has reached the 50-percent mark for containment and sits at 45,359 acres, while multiple evacuation notices have been reduced.
Previously under Level 3 evacuations, the following areas are now under Level 1 evacuations:
- Areas south of Four Corners,
- On or near the shoreline of Lake Roosevelt along the Ninemile-Hellgate Road.
Crews are continuing efforts to repair roads in order to provide safe access to the work areas.
The west and southwest flanks of the fire are reportedly secure, while repair work and dozer-line construction continues on the north flank. Firefighters are working to finish a containment line on the south flank with approximately one mile remaining.
Crews will continue reopening storm-damaged roads on the northeast flank to provide safer and easier access to the fire.
UPDATE, August 12:
The Williams Flats Fire is sitting at 44,670 acres and is 45 percent contained. Fire crews say the storms over the weekend have been both beneficial and challenging, as some localized flash flooding washed out several roads.
A helicopter will conduct an overflight of the immediate fire area to assess damage to the roads and fire suppression areas. A portion of Monday's efforts will revolve around repairing roads in order to provide safe access to work areas.
The west and southwest flanks of the fire are reportedly secure and work on other flanks continues. A dozer line was constructed on the north flank, while crews are attempting to finish a containment line on the south flank.
Structure Protection Groups have finished preparations around homes and structures in the Four Corners area.
Level 1 and 3 evacuations and road closures are currently in place:
· Goat Ranch/Hellgate area
· Areas south of Wilmont Creek (including the southern part of Ninemile-Frosty Meadows Road and along the Silver Creek Road)
· Areas south of Four Corners,
· On or near the shoreline of Lake Roosevelt along the Ninemile-Hellgate Road.
UPDATE August 11, 10:35 AM:
The Williams Flats Fire in now 40 percent contained at 43,000 acres.
According to Northwest Interagency Management Team 8, level 1 through level 3 evacuations are still in place for the following:
- The Level 1 evacuation advisory, for Falls Creek/Cougar Canyon Road south to Wilmont Creek Road (including Rogers Bar Campground), has been lifted effective at 4 PM today.
- The Level 2 evacuation advisory for the Wilmont Creek drainage has been lowered to a Level 1 advisory, "prepare to leave," effective at 4 PM today.
- The Level 3 evacuation advisory for areas south of Wilmont Creek (including the southern part of Ninemile-Frosty Meadows Road and along the Silver Creek Road) has been lowered to level 2, "be ready to leave at any moment", effective at 4 PM today.
- The Level 3 evacuation advisory for homes south of Four Corners, on or near the shoreline of Lake Roosevelt along the Ninemile-Hellgate Road, remains in effect. Road access is compromised by fire.
- The Level 2 evacuation advisory for the Goat Ranch/Hellgate area is lowered to Level 1 effective at 4 PM today.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE August 9, 9:40 PM:
The Williams Flats Fire is now burning 43,000 acres and is 35 percent contained.
According to Incident Management Team 8, the level 1 evacuation in place for for Enterprise and West End communities has been lifted.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE August 8, 10:30 PM:
According to the Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 8, there are several road closures in order to promote public safety. Road closures include:
- The junction of Silver Creek Road and Ninemile-Hellgate Road, also known as the “Four Corners”
- The junction of Olds Creek Road and the Ninemile-Frosty Meadows Road; and
- The junction of Silver Creek Road and Kuehne Road.
Only residents will be allowed through the control points.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE August 8, 10:30 AM:
The Williams Flats Fire continues to grow in size, now reported at 34,178 acres with 25 percent containment and multiple evacuation notices in place.
High temperatures and low humidity have caused the fire to burn aggressively, pushing east/northeast Wednesday. Overnight the fire burned down to the Ninemile-Hellgate Road near the Three Mile Creek area and into the upper headwaters of Little Ninemile and Six Mile Creeks.
Crews worked diligently throughout the night to protect several homes near the fire.
Thursday, firefighters are continuing the safe but aggressive approaches with assistance from large air-tanker retardant drops, fire-boss scooper planes dropping water and helicopter water drops.
Resources responded to a new start Wednesday night near Mt. Tolman and are available for response in case of any other future starts.
Level 1-3 evacuation notices remain in effect:
Level 3 (Leave now) - Areas south of Wilmont Creek to Whitestone Lookout Road
Level 2 (Be prepared to leave) - All residents in the Wilmont Creek drainage
Level 1 (Begin preparing) - All residents and campers along the shoreline of Lake Roosevelt/Columbia River from the Falls Creek/Cougar Canyon Road (the area sometimes called the Smoke Ranch) south to Wilmont Creek Road. This includes the Rogers Bar Campground.
UPDATE: August 7, 8:04 PM:
The level 3 evacuation has been expanded from Wilmont Creek to Whitestone Lookout Road.
According to the Colville Tribes Emergency Services, leave now.
All residents in the Wilmount Creek drainage are now in a level 2 evacuation.
Level 1 evacuations are in place for campers along Lake Roosevelt/the Columbia River to the Falls Creek/Cougar Canyon Road.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE August 7, 1:05 PM: First responders in Stevens County have issued a Level 1 evacuation notice in the Fruitland area.
The notice affects the Enterprise, Two Rivers and West End communities.
The Williams Flats Fire is burning nearly down to the Columbia River (Lake Roosevelt). Significant ash has been falling across the river and in combination with high temperatures and low humidity, the evacuation notice was placed out of precaution.
Level 1 evacuations are a notice to "get ready."
The Stevens County Sheriff's Office made the notice in conjuction with the Fire District 2 and the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
UPDATE August 7, 7:45 AM: The Ferry County Sheriff's Office says a Level 3 evacuation notice is now in effect for residents in the area of Little Nine Mile Creek West to Whitestone lookout as well as for everyone south to the Columbia River. Residents under Level 3 evacuations are instructed to leave immediately.
The Williams Flats Fire is burning 21,190 acres on the Colville Reservation and is currently 25 percent contained.
Colville Tribes Emergency Services says the fire moved east overnight and could reach the Nine Mile-Hellgate Road Wednesday, possibly blocking the only evacuation route of the area for homes notified to be prepared Tuesday.
CTES described the evacuation zone in further detail: From the intersection of Little Nine Mile Creek with the Nine Mile-Hellgate Road, draw a straight line west to the Whitestone Lookout. All areas south of that line are now at a Level 3 Evacuation level—-”Leave Now”. All residents of the area are advised that for their own safety, they need to leave now.
Evacuees are instructed to go to the Inchelium Community Center and check in. Shelters and places to stay overnight can be arranged there.
UPDATE August 6, 10:10 PM:
The Williams Flats fire burning on the Colville Reservation has grown to 18,000-acres. The fire is now 25% contained.
Crews from the Washington Department of Natural Resources are working overnight to reestablish anchor points for fire lines on the northeast flank of the fire.
The fire has continued to burn over Whitestone Ridge on the southeast flank.
Crews on the west flank have held the fire at Nine Mile Road, securing portions of the line.
The challenges firefighters are facing include high temperatures; active fire behavior; reduced visibility; steep, rock terrain and wildlife dangers, including snakes and bears.
UPDATE August 6, 9:00 AM:
The Williams Flats Fire burning on the Colville reservation continues to be 20 percent contained and sits at 16,781 acres.
Heavy smoke and reduced visibility have been preventing water-scooping planes and large retardant capable aircrafts from flying.
Tuesday, firefighters continue to work on reestablishing a safe anchor point to begin fireline construction on the northeast flank. Mop-up operations continue on the west flank as crews work to secure the containment line.
Fire Crews do ask to stay back on Lake Roosevelt has people are getting to close as aircraft are refilling with water.
UPDATE August 5, 10:13 PM:
According to the Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team, the Williams Flats fire has now crossed over Whitestone Ridge, due to increased fire activity on the southeast flank of the fire.
Flames are now visible from State Route 25, just north of Twin Rivers resort, and residents are reporting ash fallout across the area.
Multiple agencies are working along side the Spokane Tribe to monitor the fire. Crews will be stationed along the southeast flank of the fire to work on secure the flank.
Other crews will work on strengthening existing containment lines and mopping up hot spots on the western flank of the fire.
One residence remains under a level two evacuation. Roads closed include Kuehne, Frielander, Refrigerator Canyon and Canteen Creek Roads.
The Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team says crews are facing several hazards while battling the fire, including high temperatures, reduced visibility, steep, rocky terrain and wildlife dangers in the form of snakes and bears.
UPDATE August 5, 10:00 AM:
The Williams Flats Fire on the Colville Indian Reservation is burning nearly 13,500 acres, and is reportedly 20-percent contained as of Monday morning.
Air qualities around Spokane and the region continue to stay in the "good" range, though some areas could see them move back into the "moderate" zone Monday.
Crews are working to strengthen existing containment lines and beginning mop-up of hot spots on the west flank of the fire. Line construction continues to take place on the southeast flank toward Whitestone Ridge.
At the latest update, a single residence was under a Level 2 evacuation.
UPDATE August 4 at 4:39 PM:
According to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, the air quality in the Spokane Metro region has returned to normal.
We are now sitting in the "good" zone.
UPDATE August 4 at 10:30 AM:
The Williams Flats Fire on the Colville Indian Reservation has grown to 10,438 acres and is zero percent contained.
According to Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 8, the fire grew east towards Redford Canyon and jumped the the west containment line Saturday night.
According to the Washington Department of Ecology, the air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive people in the Spokane area due to the fire.
The Williams Flats Fire is burning at 8,200-acres with zero percent containment about seven miles southeast of Keller, Washington. Level 2 evacuations are in place.
According to the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation, the fire began on August 2 after lightning struck igniting the fire.
On Friday, crews built lines around the western and eastern perimeter of the fire , but the wind drove the fire to jump the line at Brody Creek Road pushing east.
Saturday, crews are building a line to protect the valley floor.
The fire is moving east towards Redford Canyon which was logged five years ago leaving behind slash fueling the fire.
Steep slopes and limited roads are effecting the effort to fight the fire.
Colville Tribal Natural Resource Law Enforcement Officers are asking boaters on Lake Roosevelt to stay clear of firefighting efforts.