Wildfire near Twisp 100 percent contained; 6-8 homes burned

TWISP, Wash. - A wildfire that started Friday and burned six to eight homes between Twisp and Winthrop has been contained by firefighters.

Fire spokesman Brian Scott says firefighters have built a line all the way around the Rising Eagle Road Fire.

He says they're making really good progress on the fire that has burned about 500 acres and a much larger complex of fires in the same area.

Although there were some new fires started by lighting in North-Central Washington on Saturday, none were serious and all were extinguished quickly.

Scott says evacuation notices are being revised today and some people may be able to go back home after a thunderstorm that rolled through parts of Central Washington on Saturday afternoon brought rain, strong winds, and lightning to areas already hit by wildfires.

Some homeowners that are still trying to assess the damage from a fire that burned several hundred acres near Winthrop on Friday worried Saturday's storm would cause even more fires.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Saturday's storm caused trees and power lines to go down in several areas. Lightning from the storm started some spot fires near Mazama and Carlton, he said.

Joan Winsor spent much of Saturday morning and early afternoon preparing for the storm. Friday's fire burned right up to her property line and burned a portion of her wood fence. Winds caused the fire to spread quickly, officials said.

Winsor said she was lying down and scratching one of her cats when she got word to evacuate her home.

"I wondered why are all those helicopters flying so low. And then people started knocking on the door," Winsor said. "They just said 'Get out.'"

Winsor said she grabbed her cats, got into her truck, and sped off. The whole time she was wondering if her 3 horses would survive, she said.

"That was some of the worst time of my life. From a hill far away trying to see whether my house was still standing," Winsor said.

Winsor said she returned later to check on her horses. She found them in her pasture and noticed two friends were spraying water around her home. The winds had shifted, she said. So, she grabbed her tractor and joined in.

"They looked like angels. Both of them were grubby and black. They were the best thing I've ever seen," Winsor said.

Winsor's home and barn made it through the night.

Adding to the frustration from Friday's fire and Saturday's storm, a small electrical fire at the Carlton Complex incident command post caused a fire alarm to go off at Liberty Bell High School on Saturday afternoon, so the building had to be evacuated. The site also lost power, so fire officials were relying on generators to get by.

After Saturday's storm moved through the area, a large plume of smoke was seen rising from a ridge approximately several miles west of the high school. Sheriff Rogers said he believes the smoke was from a new fire that started as a result of the lightning from Saturday's storm.

Winsor said all the activity is a clear sign to her that the fire fight is far from over.

"Never thought I'd want to see the first snow fly. But I do. It is so dry," Winsor said.

Sheriff Rogers said he's personally seen 6 homes that were destroyed by Friday's fire near Winthrop.

The Carlton Complex of fires has burned about 252,000 acres since it was started by lightning on July 14th, officials said. It's 81% contained, they added