Devil's Elbow Complex

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Devil's Elbow Complex

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Approximate Location

48.23 latitude, -118.702 longitude

Incident Overview

Smoke and steam rise from a burned log that three firefighters are working to expose and extinguish using a hose and various hand tools.

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August 20, 2014 0900 hrs

The Devil's Elbow Complex is four wildfires that are located on the Colville Indian Reservation in northeastern Washington. They were detected on August 3, but were likely ignited by lightning that passed through the area on August 2.

Three fires are in the San Poil River Valley, approximately 10-12 miles north of the town of Keller, WA. These are the Cub Creek Fire (165), the Central Peak Fire (160), and the Deadhorse Fire (164). They are burning timber, grass, brush, litter, and heavy slash that resulted from a local wind storm two years ago. The terrain is very steep and rocky. They have burned over 26,000 acres. The three fires have merged.

Approximately 150 homes and 90 other structures located nearby in the San Poil Valley along Highway 21 were threatened by this fire and Hwy 21 was closed for over a week. Hwy 21 has reopened. Caution and slow speeds are recommended because of the continuing possibility of firefighters working in the area and smoke at night. The East San Poil River Road has reopened. All evacuated residents have returned to their homes.

The Timm Brothers Ranch Fire (number 161) has burned approximately 250 acres near the Columbia River, about 20 miles north of Nespelem, WA. It was primarily burning grass and brush. It has been declared "out".

Moist weather patterns moderated fire behavior and allowed firefighters to shift to "direct" containment strategies. Containment work and mop up have progressed sufficiently to turn the management over to a 120-person workforce under a Type 3 organization based at the Mt. Tolman Fire Center on August 21, 2014. Starting then, fire information can be obtained from the Mt. Tolman Fire Center at 509 634-3100.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginSaturday August 02nd, 2014 approx. 07:45 PM
LocationThe fire complex is 20 miles NE of Nespelem, WA. Fire 161 is 30 miles west of Nespelem, WA.
Incident CommanderLarry Nickey, Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4
Incident Description2 Separate Wildfires.

Current Situation

Total Personnel725
Size26,428 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained80%
Fuels Involved

Timber (Grass and Understory). Fuel model 2 on Fire 161 Timm Bros Ranch. Fuel model 2 and 10 and 12 on other fires.

Significant Events

Southern half of the fire had modest interior activity today, light precipitation occurred over the northern portion of the fire. Breezy weather helped firefighters find additional heat as they mop up along the perimeter. Successful direct suppression strategy in progress.


Planned Actions

Provide support to initial attack needs of the Colville Agency. Continued demobilization of excess resources. Backhaul of excess equipment. Expand mop up operations. Type 3 organization will shadow current IMT for transition on 8/21.

Projected Incident Activity

Predicted movement of 0 chains to the north, 0 chains south, 0 chains east, 0 chains west. (A "chain" equals 66 feet).


Moderated weather has allowed for direct tactics. Containment lines were completed on 8/18. Full mop up operations will continue through 8/21 and with the incident transitioning to a Type III organization consisting of 3 crews and 2 strike teams engines.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Cooler and breezy early, but temperatures still got up to 92 degrees. Isolated thundershowers through the day with a few nearby lightning strikes this morning. Relative humidity dropped below 25% today. Conditions are expected to moderate with cooler temperatures and slight higher RH over the next several days after the frontal passage.

Unit Information

Northeast Region-Department of Natural Resources
225 S Silke Road
Colville, WA 99114

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National Wildfire Coordinating Group U.S. Forest Service Bureau of Land Managemen Bureau of Indian Affairs Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service National Association of State Foresters U.S. Fire Administration
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