Manila Creek Fire Grows To 18,589 Acres, But Progress Slowed

KELLER, WASH. — The Manila Creek Fire in Ferry County has slowed in growth as more crews converge on the blaze.

As of Saturday morning, it had burned 18,589 acres of timber and brush in an area southwest of Keller, on the Colville Indian Reservation. The fire was spreading to the east, but retardant dropped from the air helped slow the fire’s progress.

The fire line that was established on the west side of the blaze was holding. However, there were a few spot fires that threatened to jump the line.

Crews were allowed to return to the Mt. Tolman Fire Center on Friday, but a Level 3 evacuation was still in effect for the Swawilla Basin and structures on the southern edge of the fire. No structures have burned in the fire.

A five-mile section of Highway 21 south of Keller was closed on Friday night as crews performed burnout operations. Fire lines are being established at structures along the highway in case the fire makes it that far east. The highway was reopened later in the evening.

A number of roads are still closed due to the fire. Peter Dan/Manila Creek Road between Highways 155 and 21 is closed, as are Old Manila Creek, Meadow Creek, Lower Jack Creek, Upper Jack Creek, Keller Butte, Joe Moses and Buffalo Lake roads.

There are 722 firefighters on the scene of the fire. There are six helicopters, 37 engines, nine dozers and 18 water tenders helping with the firefighting efforts.

A community meeting was held in Keller on Saturday morning to give residents an update on the firefighting efforts.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is believed that it was intentionally set.