Heavy helicopter attacks Williams Flat fire west of Fruitland

A Chinook helicopter carries water over the leading edge of the WIlliam Flat Wildfire on Thursay evening.
Roger Harnack

A heavy helicopter drew water from the Columbia River west of the community Thursday night, dropping its payload on the advancing Williams Flat Fire.
The helicopter worked the leading edge of the fire, which grew to approximate 40,000 acres since Thursday, as it worked its way downhill toward the Columbia River.
Tribal police and other authorities closed the river nearby campgrounds so the helicopter could safely operate.
Meanwhile, Stevens County fire crews stood by, stationed at different locations along state Highway 25, just in case the wind picked up and the blaze jumped the Columbia River.
Across the water in Ferry County, several areas south of Wilmont Creek were under a Level 3 fire evacuation notice, meaning fire was imminent.
Those who evacuated were asked to check in at a shelter set up in Inchelium.
Rainfall helped slow the advance of the fire Thursday, officials said, noting the blaze is 25 percent contained.
Officials said 1,113 firefighters are working the blaze that started southeast of Keller after a lightning strike Friday, Aug. 2.
Looking ahead, fire crews may get some relief as temperatures drop into the 80s and expected rainfall comes.
Officials said a predicted rainfall of up to a quarter-inch Sunday or Monday will help inhibit the spread of the fire.
In the meantime, a red flag warning remains in effect until 5 p.m. Saturday.
A red flag warning means temperatures, humidity and wind will combine to create conditions conducive to wildfire growth.