Firefighters are battling a brush fire near Elmer City that has swept across 8,000 acres and forced limited evacuations on the Colville Indian Reservation.
According to Colville Tribal Police, the fire started around 8 p.m. Tuesday in brush near Elmer City. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Wednesday morning the fire was approximately 1,000 acres; by the evening the fire was estimated at 7,800 acres.
"A lot of it is wind driven, still a lot of fuel left to burn and the winds keep changing," said Chief Matt Haney with the Colville Tribal Police.
The fire jumped Highway 155 Wednesday afternoon, forcing authorities to shut down the main road in and out of the small town. Police issued evacuation notices shortly after that forced nearly all 200 residents to leave their homes.
"The fire got pretty close to our house," said resident Annabelle Lezard.
Highway 155 will be closed until early tomorrow morning at the earliest. The Department of Natural Resources will be taking over command of the fire at 6:00 a.m.
On Thursday morning, the evacuation ban on Elmer City was lifted.