Fire crews make progress on Buffalo Lake Road Fire near Elmer City

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August 17, 2012

(Coulee Dam, WA) Crews had a productive evening and night shift on the Buffalo Lake Road Fire taking advantage of light winds to locate and construct containment lines on the southeast portion of the fire. Burning out to strengthen these lines in the Swawilla Basin areas as the fire moves up the hill from Lake Roosevelt is today’s main task. The western edge of the fire, closest to the communities of Elmer City and Coulee Dam, is quite secure; structural protection, mop-up and patrolling activities continue.

Today’s weather will be hotter and drier than yesterday and may exceed 100�F near the fire. Although winds are expected to be light, crews will have to be alert to erratic winds influenced by the steep slopes and proximity to the Columbia River.

Yesterday, the fire burned several power poles, interrupting electricity in Nespelem, Mt. Tollman Fire Center, and Keller. Although Nespelem recovered power within a few hours, areas to the east remain without electricity. Crews will be surveying and working to repair damaged powerlines within the fire perimeter today.

The current size of the wildfire is approximately 10,962 acres with 70% containment.

Recreational boaters are encouraged to stay a safe distance away from the fire suppression aircraft that are using Lake Roosevelt to obtain water supplies. Helicopters usually dip buckets near shorelines and the Fire Boss “scooper” airplane skims the surface of open water, taking up water into special pontoons. The lake is not closed, but please keep away from the areas these aircraft are working.

Coordination is occurring between the Colville Confederated Tribes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington Department of Natural Resources, US Bureau of Reclamation, Okanogan Fire District 2, Elmer City, Coulee Dam Fire Department, Grant County Fire Department, and Okanogan County.

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