Steptoe Canyon Fire

Photo: Whitman County Fire District #14

CLARKSTON - According to an update from fire officials on Saturday morning, the Steptoe Canyon Fire, burning northwest of Clarkston, has reached 2,700 acres.  The fire was also listed as 20% contained.

The fire was sparked by lighting on Thursday at approximately 2:00 a.m. as a storm passed through the area, say officials.

Numerous firefighters from nearby fire departments were initially mobilized working through the Washington State Fire Marshal's Office. Many aviation assets were also deployed dropping retardant to protect the structures along Steptoe Canyon Road on the south side of the fire.

Officials say fire activity was moderate Friday as the temperatures warmed up and the fire backed into drainages with pockets of heavier fuels. A helicopter was used for water drops to cool a few midday flare ups near the perimeter. Firefighters made progress in further securing the perimeter constructing line using both dozers and handcrew on the north and east sides of the fire.

Fire Managers say another 20-person handcrew arrived on the incident Saturday morning. Their objective will be to seek out and extinguish smoldering debris that pose a threat to containment. Dozer and handline improvements will be made in the northwest corner of the fire for reinforcement on Saturday.

Anticipated fire activity is low to moderate and smoke may be visible as interior pockets of fuel continue to burn. 

Steptoe Canyon Road is closed from Rimrock Road to Snake River.  There were no evacuations in place as of Saturday morning.