Watermelon Hill Fire burns 13,000 acres

Watermelon Hill Fire burns 13,000 acres

Update 7/20/14: The Watermelon Hill Fire burning near Cheney, Wash. has now burned approximately 13,000 acres. The fire is still zero percent contained.

The fire, which is burning seven miles southwest of Cheney, started at approximately 2:50 PM on Saturday. The fire was approved for state mobilization at 7:30 PM, which allowed for additional resources to be deployed from around the state.

As of 7:30 AM Sunday, previous evacuation orders have been downgraded to Level 1 with the exception of the Fishtrap Resort are on Scroggie Road. Approximately 100 structures are still described as “threatened.”

Over 279 personnel are on scene, including Spokane County Incident Management Team A, numerous engines, water tenders, dozers and several hand crews.

Original story:

A wildfire is burning in Spokane County, near Cheney, Washington.

Level 3 evacuations have been ordered for the area. They are as follows:  the northern boundary is Lance Hill Road and Phillips Road. On the south, Scroggie Road. The eastern boundary is Dover and Sterling Roads. The western boundary is at Pine Springs Road.

We just received the following press release into the KXLY 4 newsroom:

“State fire assistance has been mobilized under the Washington State Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan in support of local firefighters working to contain the Watermelon Hill Fire, in Spokane County, near Cheney, WA.  Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste authorized the mobilization of state firefighting resources on July 19, 2014, at 7:30 pm at the request of Spokane County Fire District 3. 100 residences and an unknown number of outbuildings are threatened by the fire.  Level 3 evacuation orders in in place for some areas near the fire. 

 Mobilization specialists from the Fire Protection Bureau have ordered five strike teams (25 engines and 5 water tenders) to assist resources already on scene. An interagency type 3 Incident Management organization is currently managing the incident. A type 2 incident management team has been ordered for the fire.

 The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Camp Murray has been activated to Phase II, to coordinate state assistance for the Watermelon Hill Fire.  Personnel from the Office of the State Fire Marshal will be on scene to coordinate dispatch of resources, and other personnel will staff the State EOC.

 Under the State Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan, the Fire Protection Bureau coordinates the initial dispatch and continued administrative oversight of resources and personnel for the duration of the incident.  The Mobilization Plan is implemented to provide a process to quickly notify, assemble and deploy fire service personnel, equipment and other resources from around the state when fires, disasters or other events exceed the capacity of local jurisdictions.  More information about the Washington State Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan is available at:  http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/mobilization.htm