mount hull blaze

Flames consume pine trees at the bottom of Swanson Mill Road Wednesday, July 3.

ELLISFORDE — Multiple agencies responded to a wildfire shortly after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, south of Oroville.

As of Friday morning, fire officials said the blaze was measured at 281 acres, was 100 percent lined and 50 percent contained.

One outbuilding was destroyed.

“Significant progress was made in containment of the fire yesterday,” Northeast Washington Interagency Type 3 Incident Commander Richard Parrish said Friday morning. “The hard work and dedication of the members of the local fire districts is particularly noteworthy and greatly appreciated. There remains much to be done to button up this incident and bring it to acceptable turn-back standards.”

Parrish said Friday's plans include work to strengthen containment around the fire and structures.

Full containment is expected tomorrow, July 6.

Today's plans also call for construction of waterbars, cross gridding and cold trailing.

“A waterbar is a feature used to prevent erosion on sloping roads or dozer lines,” Parrish said. “Cross gridding is the systematic and deliberate process of checking to address hot spots using infrared devices.

“Cold-trailing is a method of controlling the fire’s edge by carefully inspecting and feeling with the hand for heat to detect any fire, digging out every live hot spot and trenching any live fire edge.”

As of Friday morning, 155 personnel were assigned to the blaze, including three hand crews, 12 engines and one dozer.

Initial suppression efforts included hand crews constructing fire line working with dozers and engines, and coordination with Oroville, Tonasket and Mount Hull fire departments in structure protection.

Wind and topography drove the fire through sagebrush, bunchgrass and scattered ponderosa pine. Dozer and handlines were constructed, and burnout operations were conducted Tuesday night.

Initial reports indicate the blaze may have begun from a tractor, although officials say it’s still under investigation.

The British Columbia Wildfire Service was brought in to assist in fighting the blaze. The BCWS provided two air tankers and a Bird Dog airplane.

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