Washington Wildfire Nearly 80 Percent Contained

A 3,000-acre grass fire burning near Nespelem was 80 percent contained Tuesday, according to the Interagency Fire Coordination Center in Portland, Ore.


SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- A 3,000-acre grass fire burning near Nespelem was 80 percent contained Tuesday, according to the Interagency Fire Coordination Center in Portland, Ore.

The Hopkins Canyon fire was being attacked by 117 firefighters, who had to watch for rattlesnakes in the steep terrain on the Colville Indian Reservation.

Meanwhile, the Pot Peak fire burning near Lake Chelan remained at about 300 acres. There were seven helicopters dropping water from buckets hoisted out of Lake Chelan.

About 175 firefighters were at a base camp, but had not been deployed because escape routes had not yet been located in the steep region, said Robin DeMario, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

The Hopkins Canyon fire was caused by lightning on Saturday, was moving primarily through grass and sagebrush and was not threatening any structures, said Dave Nee, assistant fire management officer for the Colville tribe.

``It's on rocky, steep terrain,'' Nee said. ``It's hard to get stuff in and around it.''

The fire is about 8 miles southwest of Nespelem and about 75 miles west of Spokane, he said.

The Pot Peak Fire was burning on remote Forest Service timberland about 15 miles northwest of the resort town of Chelan and about 4 miles from the lake, the Forest Service said.

It also was caused by lightning on Saturday, and was not threatening any structures.

The Forest Service said smoke from the fire should not affect Fourth of July events in Chelan, although visitors might see and possibly smell smoke.

The 150-acre Freezeout Fire in the northwest corner of the Pasayten Wilderness also was started by lightning Saturday. There were four firefighters at the remote blaze on Tuesday, plus a large helicopter was dropping water, the Forest Service said.

A lightning storm that moved through Eastern Washington Monday evening started several small fires, which were quickly contained.