The Williams Lake fire near Cheney has shrunk in size, although evacuations continued on Friday, and residents of Lind were able to return home Thursday evening as the fire there was apparently under control, officials said. of the Ministry of Natural Resources at a press conference on Friday morning.
A Spokane Fire District 3 truck was reported lost in the Williams Lake Fire, as was another truck in the Lind Fire Friday morning, department officials said. It was unclear which agency the fire truck lost in Lind belonged to.
The evacuation status at Lind was lifted around 8 p.m. Thursday. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office announced the fire was under control around 8:30 p.m.
Level 3 evacuations around the Williams Lake fire were continuing Friday night, with about 150 buildings at risk. However, the fire was still 0% contained and had reduced to about 1,600 acres, Department of Natural Resources spokesman Eric Keller said. The apparent decrease was likely due to improved aerial mapping, according to DNR spokesman Thomas Kyle-Milward.
“We had strong concerns about this fire yesterday afternoon that it was going to get any worse and that didn’t happen,” Department of Natural Resources wildfires officer Russ Lane said during a briefing. a press conference on Friday morning.
Lane said the department and local agencies were optimistic the fire was under control.
The Vantage Highway fire grew in size to 30,000 acres and remained at 21% containment Friday morning, Kyle-Milward said. Those numbers fell to 26,490 acres and 35% containment Friday afternoon, according to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Facebook page.
Vantage Highway reopened Thursday evening, the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team reported. There are no evacuations listed for the area.
The Cow Canyon Fire, about 13 miles southwest of Ellensburg, was at 5,600 acres and 0% containment Friday afternoon, according to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Facebook page. The fire broke out on Wednesday.
Level 3 Evacuations remained in parts of Kittitas County Friday afternoon as crews continued to work on the Cow Canyon Fire.
MNR officials were optimistic about the outlook for the next few days. While hot, dry weather is expected to increase with warmer temperatures over the weekend, strong winds are not expected to continue, said department meteorologist Matthew Dehr.
The late start to the fire season has put state resources and firefighters in a good position at this point in the summer, said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Hilary Franz.
“To date we’ve had 293 fires and we’re only into the first week of fires,” she said.
Most of them were extinguished quickly without much media attention, Lane said.
Last year in April, the department worked with 225 people in April, with a total of 1,875 at the end of the year, Franz said.
“Right now we’re sitting in a very good position in that our resources haven’t been exhausted and our firefighters aren’t exhausted like they were last year,” Franz said.
However, she also said that the fire season had just started.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” she said.
SR journalist Garrett Cabeza contributed to this report.