June 19, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 12

Wildfire contained near Indian agency

A wildfire of unknown origin was contained by firefighters Friday night after consuming a little more than 200 acres of grass, brush and some trees just east of the Colville Indian Agency campus and within site of a housing development.

Fire fighters stage an engine at a house around which the fire burned near Buffalo Lake Road. — Scott Hunter photo

The fire that started Friday afternoon just off Buffalo Lake Road apparently surrounded, but did not burn, two nearby houses. Fire engines were protecting those houses Friday evening as tenders ferried water to a hilltop and the farthest advance line of the fire as a breeze pushed it north.

Ike Cawston, of the Mt. Tolman Fire Center on the reservation, said quick reactions by firefighters, coupled with fuel-poor landscapes, likely saved the homes.

The fire was contained by late Friday night and in mop-up stage by Saturday night. Some 206 acres, mostly grazing land, burned.

Cawston said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but lightning has been ruled out.

Forces from Mt. Tolman, Colville Tribal Emergency Services and Tribal Police fought the fire, Cawston said.

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