Farewell Creek fire grows to 1,260 acres - New fire on Colville reservation

07/05/2003

Associated Press
King 5 News


WINTHROP, Wash. More firefighters are being sent to north-central Washington to battle a complex of wildfires burning near this Methow Valley town.

The largest fire in the state, the Farewell Creek burn about 20 miles north of Winthrop, had grown from 1,190 acres to about 1,260 acres by Saturday morning.

"We think we've made some progress, although the fire has grown. You could see it was spreading east over the ridgetops," said Mark Morrow, spokesman for the interagency team in charge of managing the fires.

Tammie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the interagency firefighting team, said about 200 additional firefighters were expected to arrive Saturday and prepare for a "good attack" on the fire by Sunday.

Firefighters are battling wildfires in Washington. (File photo)
Ground crews were being held back from the Farewell Creek fire because it was burning in an area too remote and treacherous for them to reach, said Carol Tocco, spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Fire Coordination Center based in Portland, Ore.

"That is in such steep, rugged terrain, they're using aerial suppression tactics only," Tocco said.

Firefighters were working to contain two smaller fires nearby.

The 200-acre Sweet Grass fire was about 80 percent contained, and the Fawn Peak fire was roughly 20 percent contained at 120 acres, Tocco said.

About 126 people were fighting the Fawn Peak fire and 254 were on the Sweet Grass blaze, supported by crews operating eight helicopters and three fixed-wing aerial tankers.

No serious injures were reported. At one point the Sweet Grass fire threatened a hilltop with radio and communications equipment on it. But as of late Friday, Wilson said no structures were threatened.

The two fires are 10 to 14 miles northwest of Winthrop and were started last weekend by lightning.

Meanwhile on Saturday, crews in northeast Washington were sent to a new fire on the Colville Reservation south of Johnny George Mountain.

No injuries or structure damage were reported at the 100-acre Rattlesnake Canyon fire, but Tocco said, "It's traveling fast."

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

 

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