Peninsula firefighters continue to battle blazes in Eastern Washington

They were kept on the fire line because of red-flag warnings and fire weather watches.

SPOKANE — Firefighters from Clallam County Fire District No. 2 assigned to the Yale Fire outside of Spokane have been retained by incident commanders.

Originally expected to demobilize from the fire Friday, they were kept on the fire line because of red-flag warnings and fire weather watches issued by the National Weather Service through Saturday night, Fire Chief Sam Phillips said.

Firefighters Steven Bentley and Rick Leffler departed for the Spokane Complex of fires Monday.

The firefighters assigned with Brush 25 from Fire District No. 2 have been protecting structures and securing the edges of the fire line as part of a multi-agency strike team from Western Washington fire agencies led by a strike team leader from North Kitsap Fire & Rescue.

Also sending firefighters to Eastern Washington was Clallam County Fire District No. 3, which serves Sequim.

The district sent five firefighters to Eastern Washington and one to 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.

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.

On Saturday, Fire District No. 2 firefighters were assigned to initial attack, Philips said; in the event a new fire starts, they would serve as the first responding units.

“Friday, firefighters made good progress around and inside the fire perimeter for both the Yale and Wellesley fires,” the two fires in the Spokane Complex, both of which started Aug. 21, Phillips said.

The Yale Fire, which covers an estimated 5,854 acres south of Spokane and Interstate 90, is 75 percent contained – a 15 percent percent increase from Friday, Phillips said Saturday.

Minimal fire activity is expected, he said.

Firefighters on the Wellesley Fire are still finding heat around structures using handheld infrared detection devices, Phillips said.

The fire, which covers an estimated 341 acres north of Interstate 90 on the eastern edge of Spokane, is 100 percent contained and is expected to stay within its perimeters, he said.

Handheld infrared devices are being used on both the Wellesley and Yale fires throughout the day, Phillips said.

Infrared technology is used to detect heat that may be invisible at the surface.

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