High winds spark fires throughout the region

Multiple fire agencies across state lines have mobilized to battle fires being whipped up by the high winds.

The largest fire burning right now is the Swakane Canyon Fire in Wenatchee which has been growing since it was sparked this weekend. The fire grew overnight from 5,000 acres to 12,000 acres. Firefighters are having a tough time getting handle of the fire, which is burning in dry grassland. A grass fire creates thick smoke and in this case is keeping water-dropping planes from flying into the area.

About 18 people have been evacuated from the Swakane Canyon area.

On Monday afternoon, a large fire began in the Spokane Indian Reservation near Little Falls. By 10:00pm Monday, the Lion Fire had grown to 500 acres, with no percentage of containment.

Tribal resources are handling the fire, with more than 70 personnel, 2 dozers, and at least five aircraft being called in to help. Tribal authorities say about 2 homes were evacuated Monday night, but by 10:00pm residents were allowed back inside. DNR is not bringing resources to this fire.

In Clarkston, firefighters think two adults playing with fireworks sparked a fire that burned 65 to 75 acres of tall grassland burning near the old Bennett Lumber Yard at 16th and Chestnut. One trailer, six outbuildings and the cars inside the outbuilding were destroyed but the homes near the fire were saved.

The wind is knocking down trees and power lines, which are sparking fires throughout the Inland Northwest, including Lewiston where two fires are burning. KLEW TV in Lewiston reported one fire at Lewiston Orchards at 1018 Powers and a second fire is located at 11th and Alder in Lewiston.

In Spokane County, fires began cropping up in the early afternoon hours fanned by gusting winds across the area. Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Guy Gifford says most of the fires are dying down overnight, and DNR was winding up efforts Monday night.

One of the more significant fires was in West Spokane’s Beacon Hill. It had grown to more than five acres and was burning near the intersection of Euclid and Havana Monday afternoon. Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer says that a “significant amount of resources” from the city, Fire District 9 and DNR were battling the fire.

In West Spokane County near Cheney one home was destroyed as fire swept through an area near Malloy Prairie Road. The fire started around 3 p.m. and was being knocked down by fire crews by 5 p.m. Fire crews say the wind knocked down a tree, which then knocked down power lines onto a house. The house quickly caught fire and burned to the ground, leaving behind only a chimney. A man living in that home was able to get out safely and also saved his pets.

When crews arrived the fire had spread to a grass field surrounding the home. Crews tried to keep the fire from jumping Malloy Prairie Road and into another grass field, but were unable. Firefighters extinguished the fire before it reached a line of trees, which would have forced evacuations of nearby homes.