UPDATE: Washington state residents praise Canada after BC air tankers help douse fire

The Swanson Mill fire is burning north between Oroville and Tonasket along the east side of Highway 97. Several helicopters and fireboss airplanes have been called in to douse the flames.

UPDATE: Crews worked overnight to contain the Wednesday wildfire that suddenly sparked to life near Oroville, Wash., according to the Washington state Dept. of Natural Resources.

In a Thursday tweet, the department said resources on the ground are now mopping up the Swanson Mill Fire.

The Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT) said the fire, which ignited at approximately 1:42 p.m., consumed approximately 141 hectares (350 acres), including burnout operations.

“Wind and topography drove the wildland fire through sagebrush, bunchgrass and scattered Ponderosa pine,” IMT said in a release.

“Dozer and hand-line was constructed around the fire and burnout operations were conducted last night to burn any additional unburned fuels between the constructed line and the fire.”

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IMT noted that hotspots remain throughout the fire’s footprint and that one outbuilding was lost.

Battling the blaze were 74 personnel, 10 engines, three dozers and aviation, including two heavy air tankers and a lead plane (bird dog) from BC Wildfire Services.


The BC Wildfire Service sent in air support to battle a blaze that’s burning in Washington state.

While the blaze is said to be knocked down, it is still active, according to Okanogan County Emergency Management.

Firefighters at the scene reported that a tractor sparked the wildfire, but that information has not been confirmed with investigators who are looking for the official cause of the blaze, according to Jill Jones with the Northeast Washington Interagency Communication Center (NWICC).

A backburn within the blaze is the final maneuver scheduled for Wednesday evening, the NWICC said.

“Resources continue to be ordered and arrive to help with suppression,” NWICC posted to its Facebook page.

Aerial shot of Swanson Mill Fire near Oroville, Washington.
Aerial shot of Swanson Mill Fire near Oroville, Washington. Credit: WA Dept. of Natural Resources

READ MORE: With extreme wildfires here to stay, B.C. launches guide on how to get ready

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Called the Swanson Mill Fire, the 115-hectare (290 acres) wildfire is burning near Oroville, and is approximately 20 kilometres from the B.C.-Washington border. Smoke from the fire can be seen in Osoyoos.

When Washington state residents saw Canadian air tankers actioning the fire, they took to social media to say, “Thanks Canada!”

Sarah Spence posted, “Thanks Canada! Rocks stars!”

Luca and Brandye Diehl wrote, “They were so calm and cool over the radio and dominated! So thankful for them!”

“They’re always there for us, eh?” posted Patti Garrett.

BC Wildfire is sent three planes: Two air tankers and a bird dog.

WATCH: (June 23, 2019) Crews tackle wildfire north of Horseshoe Bay

Crews tackle wildfire north of Horseshoe Bay
Crews tackle wildfire north of Horseshoe Bay


Leah Palmer
Leah Palmer
Dana Sedgwick-Hickey
Dana Sedgwick-Hickey

Washington State Wildfire has sent in planes to combat the fire, and several helicopters have begun bucketing the blaze.

For more on fires in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, click here and here.

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