SPOKANE — Firefighters from the North Olympic Peninsula have arrived at Eastern Washington fires, according to county fire officials.
Clallam County Fire District No. 2’s Brush 25 and crew of firefighter/EMTs Rick Leffler and Steve Bentley arrived at the Spokane Complex on Wednesday morning, said Sam Phillips, chief of the district that serves the area around Port Angeles.
The two headed out to help protect homes on the Yale Road fire, one of two fires in the Spokane Complex.
Clallam County Fire District No. 3, which serves Sequim, has sent out six firefighters, five to Eastern Washington and one to the Olympic National Park.
A Fire District No. 3 engine company with four firefighters reported to the Spokane Complex of fires, said Assistant Chief Dan Orr. He didn’t know which blaze they have been assigned to fight.
A division group supervisor is with Northwest Incident Management Team 10 at the Deep North Fire in Stevens County.
A logistics chief from Fire District No. 3 has been assigned to Olympic National Park to help fight four wildland fires in the park, Orr said.
Neither East Jefferson Fire-Rescue nor Port Ludlow Fire Rescue has been able to send firefighters elsewhere, officials said.
“We were invited to provide firefighters if we had some available,” said Bill Beezley, spokesman for East Jefferson Fire-Rescue. “We haven’t been able to do so” because of vacancies and vacations.
Chief Brad Martin of the Port Ludlow district also said the district would send firefighters if it could.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to send anyone,” Martin said. “It’s not due to a lack of desire but because of staffing.”
The Yale Road Fire in the Spokane Complex is south of Spokane and Interstate 90, and southwest of the small community of Valleyford, according to fire managers. It had destroyed 10 homes and covered 6,886 acres by Wednesday.
The other Spokane Complex fire is the Wellesley Fire, which had covered 250 acres as of Wednesday, had burned two homes. It is located north of Interstate 90 on the eastern edge of Spokane.
Both fires started Sunday afternoon and have grown through gusty winds, fire officials said.
The Associated Press reported that favorable weather conditions helped crews make progress Wednesday against the series of wildfires in Eastern Washington, which have burned at least 18 homes this week.
The Deep North fire about 8 miles southeast of Northport threatens some 50 to 60 homes around Deep North Lake. The blaze, which started Aug. 18, had covered some 735 acres as of Wednesday.
Olympic National Park fires are expected to grow during the rest of this week’s low humidity and higher temperatures.
The Hayes Fire in the Elwha River Valley gained ground Tuesday, expanding from 718 acres to an estimated 1,617 acres. The nearby Godkin Fire also expanded, growing from 181 acres to 595 acres.
The Cox Valley Fire near Hurricane Ridge remained at 56 acres, as water drops from a helicopter were used in the afternoon to strengthen the confinement barrier on it.
The Ignar Creek Fire northeast of Lake Quinault reported very little smoke and remains under an acre.
All four fires were started by lightning July 21.
Closed because of fire activity are Obstruction Point Road, Hayden Pass Trail from Dose Meadows to the Elwha River Trail and an 8-mile section of the Elwha River Trail from the Hayes River Ranger Station south to Chicago Camp.
Smoke from the national park fires has been pushed into the lower Elwha Valley during nights and early mornings.
Fire District No. 2 has been called to several smoke investigations this week, Assistant Chief Mike DeRousie said, only to find only residual smoke and no active separate fire.
People with smoke sensitivities who live in affected areas can protect themselves by staying indoors, keeping windows and doors closed, and keeping indoor air as clean as possible, officials said. More information is at www.wasmoke.blogspot.com.