Wildland fire breaks out on reservation
Wildifire consumed more than 500 acres on the Colville Indian Reservation July 4, on the 10th anniversary of a fire that burned more than 10,000 in the same area.
The Mt. Tolman Fire Center got the call at 3:47 p.m. for the blaze about 50 miles southeast of Keller on the north side of Lake Roosevelt. The cause is under investigation.
As of 9:30 Friday morning, the 2013 Rattlesnake Fire had consumed 516 acres of grass, sage, and bitter brush in steep, rocky slopes still populated with fallen, dead trees from the fire a decade ago.
One home and an abandoned homestead are in the area but not threatened, reported Mt. Tolman spokesperson Kathy Moses.
Six 20-man crews are fighting the fire with two dozers, nine fire engines, two helicopters and two patrol boats.
The fire fighting effort, currently coordinated between Colville Tribes and Bureau of Indian Affairs forces, is expected to be turned over to Type 3 team at 6 p.m. tonight.
Base camp is set up at the Keller Community Center, and tribal police are asking travelers to use extreme caution and yield to emergency vehicles.