fire photo

A helicopter flies overhead while Okanogan fire crews battle one flank of the Spring Coulee Fire on Sept. 1.

OLYMPIA – A report on the cause and origin of the Sept. 1 Spring Coulee Fire won’t be completed by the state Department of Natural Resources until after Jan. 1.

Christian Johnson, assistant chief for Okanogan County Fire District No. 3-Okanogan station, was burned in the fire and died Oct. 2 from his injuries.

Ken McNamee, northeast district manager for DNR, said such investigations typically take many months, with investigators obtaining statements, writing the report and sending the finished document through internal reviews.

He said DNR is required by state administrative code to investigate and issue reports for all fires to which it responds. During 2019, so far, DNR has responded to 1,165 fires, including the Spring Coulee Fire.

The investigation into Johnson’s death is being handled by the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Tony Hawley said that investigation also is ongoing.

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