The Kewa Fire — which started on Aug. 2 15 miles south of Inchelium on the Colville Indian Reservation — is now 65 percent contained said Northwest Incident Management Team officials. The current size of the blaze is 1,912 acres but favorable weather has led to little or no increase in fire size since it initially flared up a week ago.
On Tuesday, firefighters mopped up on firelines after working on the interior of the burn zone on Monday. They’re not relaxing yet, however, as forecasted thunderstorms and gusty, erratic winds can create hazards for firefighters on the fireline including fire-weakened trees.
Currently, 16 crews are on the fire including 20 engines, 17 water tenders, five skidgens, four dozers, two helicopters, an air attack and four FireBosses.
On Sunday the plan was to conduct a burnout within a bowl on the fire’s west side but a change in weather made this not possible. The plan was switched to creating a fireline through the bowl.
Firefighters are still identifying ways to reduce the risk to people and homes. Evacuation levels have been dropped to Level 1 in the fire area. Kewa-Meteor Road is closed between Twin Lakes-Nez Perce Road to Silver Creek Road.
The fire started on Aug. 2 when high winds knocked down a power line and sparked the blaze. Smoke filled the Colville Valley but the air around Chewelah has since cleared.
A warming trend is expected in the next few days and normal seasonal conditions the next few weeks will mean the Kewa Fire may experience interior flare ups and smoke for the rest of the summer.
By The Independent Staff