Evacuation notices issued ahead of Williams Flat fire

The Williams Flat Wildfire grew to 34,178 acres overnight, advancing eastward and toward the northeast. Roger Harnack photo.
Roger Harnack

Colville Tribal officials have issued Level 3 fire evacuation notices for some southeast areas of the reservation as the Williams Flat Wildfire continues to grow.
Overnight, the tribe issued the Level 3 notices – meaning fire is imminent – for some areas south of Wilmont Creek and Whitestone Lookout Road. But all residents of the Wilmont Creek drainage are under at least a Level 2 wildfire advisory, officials said.
The Ferry County Sheriff's Office is also advising all campers and non-tribal residents along Lake Roosevelt to be ready to leave.
The Falls Creek/Cougar Canyon Road, Smoke Ranch, Rogers Bar Campground are all under a Level 1 notice, meaning fire is in the area.
“Level 1 means it's time to start preparing in case the area needs to be evacuated,” a warning from the fire command post said this morning, noting evacuees are being directed to the Inchelium Community Center to check in.
The blaze that started with a lightning strike last Friday in the Hellgate wildlife area has grown to 34,178 acres, officials said. It is only 25 percent contained.
“The fire pushed east and northeast yesterday and overnight burning down to the Ninemile-Hellgate Road near the Three Mile Creek area and into the upper headwaters of Little Ninemile and Six Mile Creeks,” a status update issued at 9 a.m. today said, adding that crews successfully protected several structures overnight.
Another blaze in the area, the Lundstrom Butte Fire, has been fully contained to 10 acres and is in patrol status, officials said.
Meanwhile, a new fire was reported in the Mount Tolman area of Ferry County; information on that blaze is not yet available.
Today, Fire Boss planes, helicopters and firebombers will be dropping water on the blaze as visibility allows.
Equipment assigned to the fire includes five heavy helicopters, two medium helicopters, one light helicopter, four ambulances, 27 engines, 14 dozers, two masticators, four skidgenes and 23 water tenders, in addition to the FireBoss and bomber fixed-wing aircraft.