Chewelah fire destroys home, sparks wildfire


(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

CHEWELAH, Wash. -Fire crews in Stevens County worked to put out two structure fires, which spread to a wildfire on Tuesday. Strong winds made it difficult on firefighters who were luckily able to get a handle on it before it got any worse.

It broke out just before 3 p.m. just south of Chewelah on Quarry Browns Lake Road. Arriving fire crews found a home fully engulfed in flames with the fire quickly spreading to a nearby barn and wooded area.

With heavy winds blowing through the area, they called for mutual aid from the forest service and the Department of Natural Resources, as sheriff's deputies went door to door warning nearby homeowners to be ready to leave if it got out of control.

Seeing what was happening, a neighbor jumped in his bulldozer and was able to get a line around the fire as crews worked to protect homes in the area.

Luckily the winds died down and firefighters were able to get a handle on it after it grew to about six acres in size. Even though we're toward the end of fire season, crews say this could have been much worse.

"The district guys did a great job," said Nolan Roth with the U.S. Forest Service. "They got here first, their dispatch center calls our dispatch center, we started sending extra resources. We had helicopters on standby. All the pieces were still in place. It's still fire season, so everybody got here  and did their jobs, they did it well and that was that. We stopped it."

A woman and her two dogs were able to make it out safely. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.