(Coulee Dam, WA) The Buffalo Lake Road Fire started at 8:30 PM on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 and grew quickly due to high winds burning approximately 7,800 acres by the evening of August 15. As of August 19, the fire is 11,299 acres and 93% contained.
This fire is located approximately 5 miles north of Coulee Dam, WA. It is highly visible on the hillsides above the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor’s center.
Initial suppression efforts included building dozer lines and providing structure protection. The firefighters dealt with wind-driven fire fueled by grass, sage, and bitter brush. Nine homes and the communities of Elmer City (pop. 239) and Coulee Dam (pop. 1107) were threatened. Two outbuildings (barns) burned.
Crews are currently improving firelines to meet mop-up guidelines and rehabilitation standards.
Peter Dan Road and Buffalo Lake Road have re-opened. Highway 155 is open, with reduced speed limits. Travellers are encouraged to drive cautiously and obey posted speed limitis because of fire traffic and personnel in the area and the potential for falling rocks and debris.
Coordination is occurring between the Colville Confederated Tribes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington Department of Natural Resources, US Bureau of Reclamation, and Local Fire Districts.