With Spokane County fires almost fully contained, state and federal assessments begin
(The Center Square) – There was some cautiously optimistic news from a series of updates on Spokane County's Oregon Road Fire and Gray Fire. The manpower brought to bear on the fires seems to be paying off in the form of the blazes getting closer to being brought under control.
Fire updates as of Tuesday:
Size - 10,817 acresStart Date: Aug. 18Cause: Under InvestigationContainment: 79%Cause: Under InvestigationTotal Personnel: 562Resources: 43 engines |13 crews |5 bulldozers |8 water tenders |1 helicopters |4 skidgens
Size - 10,085 acresStart Date: Aug. 18Cause: Under InvestigationContainment: 85%Cause: Under InvestigationTotal Personnel: 456Resources: 41 engines |9 crews |2 Excavators |10 water tenders
Cleanup efforts have already begun in areas impacted by the fires, according to information from a Tuesday night community meeting at Riverside High School.
“We talked about the damage assessment teams that are going to be coming out into our communities," Spokane County Sheriff John Nowels said at the meeting. "From the Red Cross, there have also been some from the state, and there will be some damage assessment teams from FEMA coming in later this week."
He went to explain why those assessments are so important.
“This is all information we have to collect to make a case to the state, and to the federal government, to get monies and resources coming into this area to help you all recover to the best extent possible,” Nowels said, emphasizing the outsized impact these assessors can have on state and federal disaster recovery funding for the region.
The sheriff asked for “patience and grace” from the community during these stressful times, adding, “If you have property that’s been affected and damaged, you need to get the assessment done.”
Challenges remain in fighting the fires, even with meteorologists forecasting rainfall on the way. Precipitation could mean firefighters and others in the area may have to deal with debris- and ash-laden mudslides.
Authorities recommend that area residents go to the Spokane County Emergency Management page for further updates.