Spur Mountain Fire near Bonaparte leads to Level 3 immediate evacuations

Walker Creek and Spur Mountain Fires burning in Wauconda area

Kathryn Knowlton/submitted photo
A thunderstorm rolled through the region last Tuesday night touching off several fires in the county, according to Maurice Goodall, director of Okanogan County Emergency Management. However, the cause of the Spur Mountain Fire is still under investigation and the Walker Creek fire, also near Bonaparte, is being labeled as human-caused.

Kathryn Knowlton/submitted photo A thunderstorm rolled through the region last Tuesday night touching off several fires in the county, according to Maurice Goodall, director of Okanogan County Emergency Management. However, the cause of the Spur Mountain Fire is still under investigation and the Walker Creek fire, also near Bonaparte, is being labeled as human-caused.

WAUCONDA – The Spur Mountain Fire, which is approximately 50 acres near Wauconda has prompted Level 3 immediate evacuations for people living west of Bonaparte Lake Road, from Squattersville Road north, including the Lost Lake area.

The fire is burning in U.S. Forest Service land near Spur Mountain (map). It was reported on Thursday, Aug. 5 at around 2 a.m. Resources on scene include one aircraft, according to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Maurice Goodall director of the Okanogan County Emergency Management said the fire is moving northeast.

Meanwhile, the human-caused Walker Creek Fire, which started on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at approximately 3:22 p.m. has grown to 75 acres. It is located approximately 22 miles east of Tonasket and 1.5 miles southeast of Bonaparte Lake.

The fire is located primarily in heavy, multistoried timber with observed fire behavior of single to group torching of trees with spotting. The DNR is the lead agency in charge of the fire. There are two crews with 147 personnel and 16 engines assigned to fight the fire.

On Thursday, with increasing fire behavior, the fire was spotting to the southeast in rugged, rocky terrain. Crews constructed a contingency dozer line to contain the spots within the area. Due to the fuels in the area, burnout operations were determined to not be beneficial in containing the fires edge.

Last night, crews patrolled the fires edge, watching for spots. Although fire activity minimized overnight, spots continued to be produced and slowly grow in the southeast section of the fire. Currently the fire is about five percent contained and full containment is expected by Friday, Aug. 20.

Regionally, the area has experienced severe thunderstorms that have come through the area between Aug. 3 to 4. NEWICC (Northeast Washington Interagency Communications Center) dispatch has logged over 70 reported fires, with 46 confirmed new starts and 27 smoke checks left to conduct. This does not include surrounding dispatch areas (Mt. Tolman – Colville Confederated Tribes Reservation; CWICC – SE Washington Dispatch).

Northeast Interagency Incident Management Type 3 Team 1 assumed command of the Walker Creek Fire Tuesday morning, Aug. 3.

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