NCW — Oh what a difference a little rain can make. The last of the region’s major wildfires — once managed by large interagency teams overseeing hundreds of firefighters — have now been turned back over to local agencies and ranger districts.
COULEE DAM — When the lights go off in the parking lot at the Grand Coulee Dam visitors center, quiet overcomes hundreds of people sitting on cement bleachers, facing the dam. Slowly, water comes spilling over the massive concrete wall, turning this giant movie screen from black to white, section by section. The crowd responds. “Oh, look it, look it.” “It’s so cool.” “Awesome.”
Voters are being asked to decide whether to renew a four-year maintenance-and-operations levy that has provided about 15 percent of Eastmont School District’s general-fund budget for the past four years. The current levy is set to expire at the end of 2013 and the renewal levy would take effect in the beginning of 2014.
WATERVILLE — Officials with the Waterville Clinic are optimistic that voters will pass a $65,000 special levy to operate the clinic and ambulance service. “The community wants to keep both the medical and the ambulance services in the community and this is the only way we can do it,” said Elonna Rejniak, office administrator for Douglas County Hospital District 2. “We’ve never had a special levy fail.”
WENATCHEE — Campfire on most of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will continue to be prohibited until a significant rainfall or snow changes dry conditions, officials said Tuesday. All national forest lands on the Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchee River, Cle Elum and Naches ranger districts remain under the campfire ban, including developed campgrounds, wilderness areas and special use sites such as group camps and summer homes with permits.
SPOKANE — Two Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies were honored Wednesday with a Washington State Life Saving Award at a law enforcement conference in Spokane for rescuing a family from drowining in the Columbia River this spring. Deputies Rich Poppie and Dean Schlaman were on marine patrol near Lincoln Rock State Park on May 26 when they saw a personal watercraft without a rider and a lifejacket floating near Turtle Rock Island.
A bird finds a place to rest this morning on an ice-coated orchard south of Rock Island. Temperatures are expected to drop tonight to below freezing in many areas of North Central Washington, but not Wenatchee, where the forecasted low is 38 degrees.
Wenatchee Reclamation District water users in Wenatchee and Douglas County will be without irrigation water for the next couple of days after a city of Wenatchee water line split early this morning, washing out a section of the Highline Canal. T
WENATCHEE — A fire near Liberty in Kittitas County became so massive and powerful on Wednesday afternoon that it began to threaten homes several miles away, near Mission Ridge. Officials issued evacuation notices to about 200 homes in the Mission Ridge area Wednesday evening, after the 9,500-acre Table Mountain fire blew up, sending a column of smoke about 35,000 feet into the sky.
WENATCHEE — If you think breathing smoke for a few days or even weeks while wildfires rage on is no big deal, you’re wrong. Health officials say even short-term exposure to the hazardous air in Wenatchee that’s persisted since last week is dangerous for everyone, not just those with health problems.
GRAND COULEE — The wildfires burning in Douglas County that consumed three homes and 38 outbuildings are now nearly contained, and a statewide interagency team is handing management of those fires back to local districts. The Barker Canyon Complex is now 96 percent contained, and fire officials say they expect to have both fires fully contained by Wednesday.
A dry cold front that blew into the region late Friday night has helped clear smoke out of the upper Wenatchee Valley and should help lift the inversion that has been holding toxic smoke in the Wenatchee area today.
GRAND COULEE — Fire officials confirmed today that three homes and nine outbuildings were consumed by the massive Leahy Fire, which has burned across grass and sagebrush all the way from Leahy Junction nearly to the Columbia River.
CHELAN — Hundreds of people cannot call 911 today after fire burned through a phone or fiber line in the Stayman Flats area north of Highway 971. Sometime before 8 p.m. on Monday, long distance service — including 911 — was cut to about 540 access lines in the Chelan, Manson, Mansfield and Waterville areas, said RiverCom operations manager Jackie Jones.