Update-September 13, 2020 

For Immediate Release

Incident Commander: Eric Knerr, Northwest Team 7

Fire Information Phone:   530-475-4701  

Email:  2020.incheliumcomplex@firenet.gov              

[Inchelium, WA] Three fires actively burning in a mix of timber and brush on the Colville Indian Reservation comprise the Inchelium Complex: the Fry Fire, Inchelium Highway Fire, and Kewa Fields Fire.  All three fires are being managed for full suppression. The cause of the fires remains under investigation. Crews remain focused on point protection with an emphasis on structures and natural and cultural resources, and minimizing the footprint on all three fires. 

A virtual community meeting will be held at 7:30PM tonight via Facebook Live on the Colville Tribal Broadcasts, News and Information Facebook page. The event will feature updates from Colville Business Council member Joel Boyd, Incident Commander Eric Knerr, fire operations leadership, and fire weather and behavior specialists.

Current Situation: Aviation resources were unable to fly yesterday due poor visibility under an inversion.  The inversion lifted late last night increasing fire behavior, resulting in spotting in some areas. On the northwest flank of the Inchelium Highway Fire firefighters constructed fire line around the increased perimeter and the new spot fires. There was also increased activity around the structures on the other flanks. At the Kewa Fields Fire one small area on the ridge above Stray Dog Canyon continues to be difficult to hold. Crews continued to build line around the slopover in the southwest corner were the fire crossed Falls Creek Road. The Fry Fire continues to be held in check.

Today’s Operations: Fry Fire (500 acres): The Fry Fire is holding well and crews continue to mop up to work to put the fire in patrol status. A Level 2 evacuation is in effect for residents living near Twin Lakes and Meteor Road including North and South Twin.

Inchelium Highway Fire (6,887 acres): Crews will work to hold and improve fire lines on the northwest end, continue monitor for spotting, and do point protection around structures on other flanks. Aviation assets will likely be grounded due to smoke. A Level 2 evacuation is in effect for residents near Hall Creek Road and Seyler Valley Road.

Kewa Fields Fire (10,825 acres): Resources are being moved to priority areas above Stray Dog Canyon and along the southwest flank of the fire. Level 3 Evacuation is in effect for Stray Dog Canyon south to the Kewa Fields Fire area. Yesterday a new Level 2 Evacuation was put in effect in the vicinity of the southwest flank of Kewa Fields Fire in the proximity of Wilmont Creek Road. A Level 2 Evacuation remains is in effect in the area extending two miles north of Stray Dog Canyon.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Slightly cooler temperatures with increased humidities are expected today, with winds from the south/southwest. Warmer and drier conditions are expected to move into the fire area mid week. Smoke over the area could again moderate temperatures.  There continues to be a potential for active fire spread with backing and flanking with occasional uphill spread. 

Smoke: Moderate to heavy smoke impacts are anticipated as a result of smoke from the Inchelium Complex mixing with smoke from active fires in northwest Oregon that is being pushed into the region. 

Road Closures:  The Seyler Valley Road north of Bridge Creek is closed, and Hall Creek Road is closed. Bridge Creek Road is open.

Evacuation Levels: For the latest evacuation information see updates from Colville Tribal Emergency Operations https://www.colvilletribes.com/active-fires

COVID-19:  Mitigations are being taken to limit exposure risks to firefighters and the Tribal community per CDC guidelines.  

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