A fire that started late Wednesday afternoon has blown up to approximately 890 acres just south of Ford, Washington, threatening 60 homes in the area.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Thursday morning they had authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs.
The Lake Spokane fire, burning near the intersection of Highways 231 and 291, was first reported at 20 to 25 acres burning in brush and timber. Within two hours it blew up to approximately 400 acres.
Fire officials say the blaze may have been started by a homeowner burning garbage, but will continue to investigate.
Evacuations have been ordered for the following areas:
- Level 3 Evacuation for Highway 231 between Highway 291 and Corkscrew Canyon
- Level 2 Evacuation Notice for Highway 291 between Highway 231 and Corkscrew Canyon
DNR and Stevens County Fire District 1 crews are on the scene with multiple engine crews. More fire crews have been requested to assist from the outlying areas.
As of 7:30 p.m. more than 100 firefighters are fighting the fire on the ground while, in the air, seven tanker aircraft and helicopters have been vectored in from Moses Lake, Wenatchee and several reportedly from Canada to drop retardant on the fire lines.
The Stevens County Sheriff's Office and the Washington State Patrol have dispatched officers to the scene to assist with traffic control.
A Type 3 Incident Management Team has been requested to help coordinate the firefighting effort.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter for evacuees at Lakeside High School in Nine Mile Falls at 5909 Highway 291. The staff is on scene ready to assist evacuees. They are not set up to accept pets or livestock at this time but are working to coordinate that with other agencies.
They are not taking donations at the shelter as of 8 p.m. but Red Cross officials suggest if you want to donate you can make a monetary donation through the Red Cross website.