Newby Lake fire crosses forest boundary

Tents begin to crop up in a fire camp on the Tonasket Middle School lawn.

Photo by Brock Hires
Tents begin to crop up in a fire camp on the Tonasket Middle School lawn.

— Pushed by winds, the Newby Lake Fire has crossed the Loomis state forest boundary near Snowshoe Meadow.

The fire that started last Thursday has consumed about 1,347 acres of timber and heavy grass, officials said late Tuesday, noting the blaze is located about 15 miles northwest of town.

“Yesterday, firefighters focused on scouting the area, looking for appropriate anchor points to suppress the fire using safe and aggressive tactics. The fire is burning in high elevations 6,500 to 8,000 feet in steep, rocky terrain,” officials said. “Due to the remote location of the fire, a spike camp will be established closer reducing travel time for fire crews.”

Smoke from the blaze is blanketing the Oroville and Tonasket areas, as well as the Okanogan Valley.

On Monday evening, a state Interagency Incident Management Team 2 assumed command of the fire. It, along with the U.S. Forest Service, state Department of Natural Resources and B.C. Minister of Forest Lands, are coordinating fire response.

Officials said opportunities exist in tying into control lines from the Tripod Fire, which burned in 2006.

There are about 173 firefighters assigned to the blaze. Aircraft resources include a Type 1, a Type 2 and two Type 3 helicopters, and one fixed wing aircraft.

Officials have closed the area leading into the Pasayten Wilderness to the public north of the Fourteen Mile and Iron Gate trailheads, and from Windy Peak, north of Haig Mountain, to the Canadian Border.

The lightning caused fire started July 2, south of Keremeos, B.C., in the Snowy Creek Protected Area. The wildfire, pushed by winds to the east and south beyond the international border, moved into the U.S. portion of the Pasayten Wilderness Area.


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