Officials Report Some Progress Fighting Large Fires, But Worry as Red Flag Warning Remains


A red flag warning remained in place for much of Eastern Washington through Thursday night as firefighters continue to brace for breezy conditions.

The National Weather Service said winds of 5 to 15 mph are expected with gusts of 25 mph possible. The red flag warning will expire at 11 p.m. Thursday.

A new fire has erupted in the area of Lime Lake near Metaline Falls. As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office has told people within one mile of Lime Lake to prepare to evacuate because of fire danger. Earlier, they said people within 5 miles of the lake needed to leave.

Few other details were available Thursday afternoon.

Some officials on other fires reported some progress battling larges blazes in the region.

The Snake River Complex of fires burning in Idaho about 20 miles south of Lewiston had burned 156 square miles  as of Thursday morning.

The fires were ignited by lightning last week. There are about 400 firefighters working to contain it. Fire officials are worried about windy conditions and further possible lightning strikes from thunderstorms on Thursday afternoon and into the evening, according to a fire briefing report.

Meanwhile, in Washington, firefighters continue to battle several large blazes.

In Okanogan County, the Chuweah Creek fire just outside the town of Nespelem was expected to continue to grow, according to a fire briefing from Northwest Incident Management Team 12.

The fire was sparked by lightening on Monday. It has burned about 50 square miles as well as 11 structures, including three homes. It was listed at 20% contained Thursday morning.

The Lick Creek fire in southeastern Washington also was listed at 20% contained Thursday morning. The fire, which was sparked by lightening on July 7, has burned nearly 100 square miles in Asotin and Garfield counties.

Overnight, crews successfully burned a five mile fire line on the southeastern side of the fire, fire officials reported in a fire briefing.

In Chelan County, crews have made progress battling the Red Apple fire, which is about 17 square miles. Ryan Rodruck, fire information officer, said only a few residents remain in the most urgent evacuation orders, but about 1,500 are being asked to be ready to leave.

The fire is north of Wenatchee and the Wenatchee River just west of the Columbia River. The fire was listed at 10% contained early Thursday afternoon.


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