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Fire at 150,000 acres

 


At 150,000 acres, the North Star Fire is still threatening Nespelem and, now, Republic.

More resources to fight the fire are being added each day to fight the fire, occurring in what Incident Commander Rich Nieto called “epic conditions, historical conditions” at a community meeting Saturday at Lake Roosevelt Schools.

But it’s been slow getting the resources that would normally be added quickly, only because of the hundreds of fires throughout the dry West.

Officials said the fire was the larges single fire burning now. That doesn’t include the huge Okanogan “Complex,” actually several fires being managed as one.

At the end of last week, Okanogan County Emergency Management was announcing evacuations, several a day, sometimes within moments of each other. Early this week, many of those were pulled back to alerts to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Some 20 notices have been issued between North Star and the Tunk Block Fire, just to its west.

With some other fires slowing down, resources are being redistributed and North Star’s personnel count jumped to 539 Tuesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon, the North Star was “backing and flanking down to Highway 155 and staying within contingency lines. It is accomplishing fire manager goals, moving east to west in the vicinity of mile marker 50. Anticipate delays due to increased firefighter activity,” said information released from the fire command.

At press time the fire was considered 5 percent contained. The area north of Nespelem was still at a Level 3 mandatory evacuation status. The town of Nespelem was at Level 2, and the Colville Indian Agency was at Level 1.

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