(By Staff Reports/Chewelah Independent)
Firefighters now mopping up Bissell Fire near Gifford…
The worst of the Bissell Fire has passed. After threatening homes around Gifford in western Stevens County, the fire has calmed down considerably, according to authorities.
The official size of the blaze is now being listed at 377 acres.
Firefighters are doing important mop up work around the fire but residents may see increased smoke activity above the fire because of more wind. One helicopter is assigned to the fire.
The fire did not grow on Wednesday and thermal imaging equipment will be used to identify remaining hotspots.
The fire is considered 50 percent contained with 130 personnel working on it. The cause is under investigation.
According to authorities, the Bissell Fire started July 23, 2017, just after 7 p.m. north of Hunters. The fire caused level three evacuations for approximately 25 residents. Local firefighters and DNR responded to the blazed and a Red Cross shelter was established at Columbia School in Hunters.
That shelter has since been closed with danger passing. Power initially lost because of the fire has since been restored.
There are no road closures but motorists should use caution traveling on State Route 25 north of Hunters, because of firefighting traffic in the area.
North Fork Mill Creek fire sees good progress
The WA DNR has made good progress on the North Fork Mill fire, which occurred in North Stevens County near the Pend Oreille County line on US Forest Service Land. Four DNR fire bosses were working the fire yesterday and Stevens County Emergency Management reported the fire being between 10 to 15 acres with another spot fire being 2-3 acres.
No structures were threatened in the fire.