Crews battling blaze, heat on Lake Spokane fire

Crews battling blaze, heat on Lake Spokane fire

Firefighters working to contain the wildfire near Lake Spokane were also fighting the scorching heat.

The fire, spread over 1,000 acres, was 30-percent contained as of Friday afternoon, but the near triple digit temperatures is not helping move things along.

“It’s really hot we’re just trying to stay hydrated and that’s mainly our focus,” said Josh Boyd, engine boss and firefighter.

Boyd and his crew were busy mopping up Friday; one person digs under the ash while another sprays it down with water, working to reveal and remove any hidden hot spots.

With Friday’s hot and dry conditions, this is just as important as repressing the fire.

“Could be right on the line their could be a little duffer and the wind picks up and that crosses the line and then you are looking at a whole different scene then,” said Boyd.

Being close to the hot ash and out in the hot air, Boyd and his crew are working in very dangerous conditions.

“They’re out there 12-14 hours a day starting at six in the morning. We get them briefed and they’re out there til like seven or eight at night. Then we’re camping out so they don’t get that cooling off period, it’s not like they are walking into an air conditioned area at night,” said Incident Commander David Leitch.

Three firefighters have been treated for heat exhaustion since the fire started on Wednesday. Teams are working together to make sure no one else gets to that point.

“They are taking more breaks, usually we break them every couple hours for 20 minutes but now they are doing 15 minutes every hour to make sure they stay hydrated,” said Leitch.

There have not been any significant injuries and the fire has not claimed any structures.

Base came is set up at the Lake Spokane campgrounds, both the camp and the boat launch will be closed for the weekend.

The fire is expected to start ramping down by Tuesday.