Williams fire

Smoke rises from the Williams Flats Fire, as seen from the Keller Ferry Sanpoil.

KELLER – The Williams Flats Fire on the Colville Indian Reservation is nearing 17,000 acres in size as of Tuesday morning, Aug. 6.

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, the fire had burned across 16,781 acres and was 20 percent contained.

Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 8 has taken over the fire fight.

The fire is burning on tribal land southeast of Keller and state Department of Natural Resources-protected land. It progressed over Whitestone Ridge and into the Three Mile Creek drainage on the northeast flank.

Water-scooping planes and large retardant-capable aircraft were unable to fly Monday because of heavy smoke and reduced visibility in the area. Heavy-lift helicopters continued to assist firefighters with water drops.

Containment lines have been constructed to and tied into the Nine Mile Road. On the northwest flank, firefighters are constructing line with bulldozers and hand crews.

The structure protection group is monitoring for flare-ups at the Goat/Hellgate Ranch and providing point protection at the Johnny George lookout tower. A remote spike camp has been established near Sand Creek, closer to the fire to reduce travel time for fire fighters working on the southeast flank.

The main camp is at the Keller Community Center.

Challenges firefighters are facing include high temperatures, reduced visibility, steep and rocky terrain, and wildlife such as snakes and bears.

The nearby Lundstrom Butte Fire is at 11 acres and 80 percent contained.

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