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Major fires settle down


Evacuation notices from two major fires in Douglas County have been pulled, according to the county sheriff’s office.

One fire, 17 miles northeast of Waterville, and a second fire 10 miles southeast of Waterville, had together burned some 22,212 acres of brush, grass and sage, according to Tuesday’s fire report.

Both fires are being managed as the Douglas County Complex. There had been no reports of structures lost or injuries by Tuesday.

The Red Cross, which had opened a center for evacuees, at Ephrata High School, has since closed.

The evacuation notices were lifted as a result of success fighting the two blazes, officials stated.

Five fires started Friday, July 10, about 6 p.m. from lightning strikes and eventually merged into the two big blazes. About 300 firefighters were battling the fires from Douglas County Fire Districts 1 and 8, Grant County Fire District 13, Washington State Fire Marshal’s office, Bureau of Land Management, Douglas County Sheriff’s office and Douglas County Emergency Management.

Aircraft, engines, dozers, water tenders, and hand crews, along with a Type 3 incident management team, were all on the fire lines.

At one point on Saturday, an immediate evacuation was ordered for the Rimrock community, 17 miles west and north of Ephrata.

But by Tuesday, firefighters were being released to go to their home units as the north fire was in mop-up stage.

In other fire news, the Twenty-one Mile Grade Fire topped out at 2,250 acres 25 miles north of Keller before Washington Incident Management Team 5 handed management of the fire back to the Mount Tolman Fire Center on the Colville Reservation Thursday. The fire was 90 percent contained at that time.

The state Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday classfied fire danger in northern Lincoln County as “very high,” and it remains so in Okanogan and Ferry counties.

The National Weather Service Tuesday evening was predicting seasonally warm and locally breezy conditions through Thursday night, followed by a cold front Friday with a chance of thunderstorms.

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