The two largest fires burning in our state right now are in the northeast corner of Douglas County. Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal says Douglas County officials have declared a state of emergency because of the fires, which started Saturday night by a passing storm. The Barker Canyon fire, about five miles west of Grand Coulee Dam has grown to more than 14,200 acres. Fire units from throughout the state have been called in to battle the blaze. Because of the fire, Highway 174 has been closed periodically between Leahey Junction and Coulee Dam due to smoke and fire apparatus on the roadway. Gjesdal says high winds are making firefighting extremely difficult.
The Leahey Fire near Leahy Junction has grown to at least 13 thousand acres. Gjesdal says that too has moved very quickly due to high winds. The Sheriff's Office and Coulee Dam Police Department have given out about 75 level one to level 3 evacuation notices. The most recent Monday afternoon was a level two notice to several residences in the area of Smith Lake and Strahl Canyon. The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the senior center in Grand Coulee. Gjesdal says as of Monday afternoon there have been no reported injuries and no confirmed reports of property damage.