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A week of fires and smoke


The “Baker Canyon Complex” burned 81,155 acres, including the northern “Leahy Fire” portion, which jumped the river in several places, adding to the Manila Creek Complex fire. — GeoMAC map.

A series of wildland fires started by lightning Sept. 8 burned nearly 127 square miles of land, threatened two towns and consumed some $1.65 million of state and federal money to fight it.

The Barker Canyon Complex fire was finally declared 100 percent contained Tuesday, but not before prompting evacuation warnings and orders for parts of Grand Coulee and Coulee Dam and families living in rural Douglas County.

The fire tested the resources of local and surrounding fire fighting agencies, while help from state resources were spread thin too. The storm that brought lightning to Washington starte fires across much of the eastern part of the state.

The Barker Canyon Complex took up to 250 personnel to fight at one point. It burned one home, several outbuildings and 81,155 acres of mostly sage and grass pasture area.

The Manila Creek Complex burned 1,641 acres, mostly in the Tim Brothers fire along the Columbia River, after blazes in the Barker complex jumped the Columbia River. Two smaller areas managed in the complex burned near Keller.

Still raging in the region, the Wenatchee Complex is threatening 792 structures. It has burned nearly 35,000 acres in seven major fires and several smaller ones. Fighting it are 1,821 personnel. The Okanogan Complex in the Methow has burned 4,711 acres and threatens 64 structures.

Smoke from the fires prompted health authorities to issue alerts during the week, and race officials considered canceling last Saturday’s Grand Columbian Triathlon.

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