Hundreds battle E. Washington blazes

SPOKANE - The state on Friday dispatched about 350 firefighters to battle a dozen wildfires in Eastern Washington.

They join local, federal and Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters on blazes that were whipped up by winds that gusted to more than 40 mph on Thursday.

Calmer winds and cooler temperatures helped firefighters on Friday. There were no reports of injuries in the fires.

The most potentially destructive blaze appeared to be the Slide Creek fire near the Stevens County town of Arden, which had burned some 1,000 acres. About 145 homes were threatened by the fire, including 65 in which the residents were ordered to evacuate.

Albert Kassel of the state Department of Natural Resources said the fire burned two homes and seven outbuildings Thursday. About 400 firefighters were using bulldozers to try and contain the fire, which started when a tree fell on a power line.

“We have favorable conditions,” Kassel said.

The Hubbard Fire, near the Columbia County town of Dayton, grew to about 11,000 acres and was 15 percent contained on Friday.

The Highway 8 Complex fire in rugged country near the Columbia River town of Lyle grew to 1,200 acres by Friday morning, he said. Residents of 40 homes faced mandatory evacuations, and people in another 50 homes were told to prepare to evacuate, Kassel said. Only one outbuilding had burned.

The Fish Hatcheries Road fire near Republic in Ferry County grew to 650 acres, and about two-thirds had been surrounded by a fire line, Kassel said. Firefighters are wary about high winds predicted in that area, he said. No structures have burned.