Tribal authorities, fire crews keep watchfull eye on Williams Flat fire

A smoke plume rises from the Williams Flat wildfire burning in Ferry County.A dozer line has already been established between Two Rivers Resort and the Columbia River, just in case the Williams Flat fire jumps the waterway. Roger Harnack photo.
Roger Harnack

Spokane Tribal authorities and Stevens County fire crews are keeping a watchful eye across the Columbia River as the Williams Flat fire continues to advance.
The blaze, topping 17,000 acres, began southeast of Keller on the Colville Indian Reservation. But dry conditions and a strong breeze have been pushing the flames closer to Two Rivers Resort, across the river in Stevens County.
A dark plume is rising from the fire that is now just a few miles from the rural community on the Spokane Reservation in southern Stevens County.
A thick blanket of smoke has settled over some areas of the valley. As a result, no aircraft are operating in this area of the blaze.
Last night, the fire topped a ridge and flames were visible from Two Rivers, officials said.
Today, spotters are strategically positioned along state Highway 25 keeping an eye on the advancing fire. They are expected to remain until the fire danger subsides.
Despite the smell of smoke in the air, many campers remain at the resort at the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers.
Officials here hope the Columbia River will provide the fire break needed to keep the flames across the river in Ferry County. But just in case, several apparatus have been moved into southern Stevens County so fire crews can respond quickly, if needed.