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Inchelium Complex

Unit Information

Colville Agency
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Nespelem, WA 99155

BIA Shield

Incident Contact

Isabelle Hoygaard
Phone: 509-385-3320
Hours: 5 AM - 9:30 PM

Highlighted Activity

09/26/2020 Inchelium Complex Update Sept. 26, 2020
 News Release  -  September 26th, 2020 Inchelium, WA: Heavy rainfall across the fires was utilized by wildland fire crews to increase containment on the northern lines of the Kewa Fields Fire as.
News - 09/26/2020

Three fires with minimal fire activity in a mix of timber and brush on the Colville Indian Reservation comprise the Inchelium Complex: the Inchelium Highway Fire, Fry Fire and Kewa Field Fire. The cause of the fires remains under investigation.

Fire managers are looking for opportunities to engage the fires in a full suppression strategy, while prioritizing firefighter and public safety and protecting values at risk. Crews remain focused on point protection with a focus on structures and natural and cultural resources.  

The Complex is currently being managed by Northeast Interagency Incident Management Team 1

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
CauseTrained Fire Investigators Have Determined The Inchelium Complex To Be Started By Human Activity; However, Investigating Wildland Fires Is A Legal Process That Requires The Specific Fire Cause To Remain Confidential Until The Process Is Complete.
Date of OriginMonday September 07th, 2020 approx. 05:15 PM
Incident CommanderNortheast Washington Interagency Management Team #1 Tom Merritt IC; Bill Dennstaedt Deputy IC
Incident DescriptionComplex
Coordinates48.331 latitude, -118.198 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel295
Size19,399 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained85%
Estimated Containment DateWednesday September 30th, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Timber, Brush, Grass

Significant Events

Fire behavior on all fires are minimal, with creeping and smoldering and consumption of heavy fuels within containment lines.


Planned Actions

Mop up in all divisions to defend primary lines. Repair excess dozer lines.

Projected Incident Activity

Majority of the fire area is smoldering within direct control lines. Limited smoke production from isolated areas of fire.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Today: The morning will feature a good deal of sunshine and cool temperatures. The arrival of a quick moving upper level

disturbance will bring increasing chances for showers, breezy west

winds, and the potential for a few thunderstorms. Satellite

imagery as of 2 AM shows the disturbance we will be tracking today just off the coast of central British Columbia. There is a good

deal of cold cumulus development with this disturbance, evidence that mid and upper level cooling will arrive this afternoon. The models including the NAM, GFS, and HREF members depict enough

afternoon destabilization coupled with steepening mid-level lapse rates to generate widespread showers across northeast Washington into the north Idaho Panhandle. With 500mb temperatures expected to be around -25C this afternoon, places like Republic, Kettle Falls, Priest Lake, Bonners Ferry, and Sandpoint will have a shot of thunderstorms this afternoon and early this evening. The low CAPE and high shear environment suggest small, quick moving cells capable of brief heavy rain and small hail. At this time,

thunderstorm activity looks to be north and east of our fresh

burn scars.

The passage of our upper level disturbance this afternoon will

also tighten our westerly surface pressure gradient. Look for sustained west winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph from mid afternoon through early evening across much of central and eastern

Washington including the Columbia Basin, Waterville Plateau,Palouse, and West Plains. Yesterdays gusts of 40 mph caused problems with blowing dust around Washtucna producing periods of near zero visibility and the closure of a portion of Highway 26.

There may be a few hours of blowing dust again this afternoon, but the should be less impactful. Sustained winds and gusts should be

about 10 mph less than yesterday. Most dust events that cause road closures have gusts of 40 mph or more.

Tonight: The focus for showers this evening into the overnight

hours will be over the central and southern Idaho Panhandle as our disturbance tracks into southwest Montana and Wyoming tonight.

Breezy evening winds will subside and clearing skies will promote efficient radiational cooling. Many communities will dip into the

30s by Sunday morning.