North Star Fire threatening communication system, homes

The blaze has grown to 22,000 acres about 12 miles north of Nespelem



— Mount Tolman Fire Center officials are concentrating on efforts to keep the North Star Fire from reaching the Moses Mountain communication system.

The 22,000 fire is also threatening nearly 50 homes and 35 other buildings as it nears the Colville Reservation-U.S. Forest Service boundary near Moses Meadows/Lyman Lake Road. But officials said protecting the communication system is paramount.

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Mount Tolman Fire Center

A map shows the North Star Fire area as of 1 p.m. today.

The fire is only 3 percent contained.

Spokeswoman Kathy Moses said earlier today that the blaze has started spot fires on publicly owned land managed by the forest service north of the boundary and near Lost Lake.

"Yesterday evening, firefighters were forced to move their staging area in the southeast flank as afternoon winds increased causing the fire to jump the dozer line," a statement released by Moses said today. "Overnight, crews worked to re-establish the line, allowing for progression from the heel along the eastern flank.

The rugged terrain has limited access, she said, noting smoke has decreased visibility and increased risks to fire crews.

Fire crews are focusing on efforts to keep the blaze from moving south toward the city and state Highway 155.

Several roads in the area are closed or open to local traffic only, including Moses Meadows/Lyman Lake Road, Colby Trail, Gold Creek, state Highway 155, Peel Creek, Park City Loop, Stepstone, Shillings Ranch-Gold Lake, Nanamkin and Central Peak-Cache Creek.

"People are urged to stay out of the area of the fire," Moes said. "Heavy smoke could be a major factor while traveling through the area, so drive with your headlights on.

A Type III team has been assigned to the blaze, as have 118 personnel, 11 fire engines, five dozers and more.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.



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