KELLER – Multiple new evacuation notices have been issued for homes near the Williams Flats Fire on the Colville Indian Reservation.
Colville tribal emergency services and the Ferry County Sheriff’s Office issued the notices. Other evacuation levels have increased in severity.
A Level 3 (get out now) evacuation notice has been issued for areas south of Wilmont Creek to Whitestone Lookout Road.
All residents in the Wilmont Creek drainage are now in a Level 2 (be ready) evacuation advisory. People are advised to leave if they see fire approaching and not to wait for a formal warning, say fire officials.
All residents and campers along the shoreline of Lake Roosevelt/Columbia River from the Falls Creek/Cougar Canyon Road (the area sometimes called the Smoke Ranch) south to Wilmont Creek Road are at a Level 1 (be aware) evacuation advisory. The area includes the Rogers Bar Campground.
The tribe asks evacuees go to the Inchelium Community Center and check in. If they need a shelter, a place to stay overnight will be arranged at or near the community center.
As of Thursday morning, Aug. 8, the Williams Flats fire had burned across 34,178 acres of land. Containment was at 25 percent.
The fire is burning on Colville tribal and and state Department of Natural Resources-protected lands. High temperatures and low relative humidity have combined to cause the Williams Flats Fire to burn aggressively, said officials.
Yesterday and overnight, the fire pushed east and northeast, burning down to the Ninemile-Hellgate Road near the Three Mile Creek area and into the upper headwaters of Little Ninemile and Six Mile Creeks.
Firefighting is under the direction of the Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 8, with Incident Commander Doug Johnson.
The structure protection group worked throughout the night around several homes nearest to the fire. On the northwest flank last night, firefighters successfully completed the burnout operations of fuels along the containment line into the Friedlander Meadow. The west flank is in patrol status.
The structure group is assessing the best strategy to protect structures and homes in the Four Corners area. Johnny George Lookout is also being protected.
Large air tanker retardant drops, fire boss scooper planes dropping water and helicopter water drops are expected to assist ground crews today.
Initial attack firefighting resources, as request by tribe, responded to a new start last night, Aug. 7, near Mount Tolman.
The nearby Lundstrom Butte fire is 100 percent contained at 10 acres. It is in patrol status.
As of Aug. 8, personnel assigned to the Williams Flats Fire totaled 901. Additional firefighting resources continue to arrive.
Multiple roads are closed, including Kuehne, Nine Mile-Hellgate, Refrigerator Canyon and Canteen Creek roads.
People are advised to stay away from Lake Roosevelt near the fire because aircraft are dipping water from the lake.
A temporary flight restriction is in place for 10 miles around the Williams Flats and Lundstrom fires.