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FEMA funds authorized for Carlton Complex fire

FEMA funds authorized for Carlton Complex fire

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Carlton Complex Fire, burning in Okanogan County, Washington.

FEMA Region X Regional Administrator, Kenneth D. Murphy determined that the Carlton Complex Fire threatened enough destruction to constitute a major disaster. Murphy approved the state's request for federal Fire Management Assistance Grant on Thursday.

When the request was submitted on Wednesday, no homes had burned. Today, dozens of homes and businesses have burned to ash as the fire moved through the small town of Pateros. Nearby Brewster is also under a level three evacuation order, meaning residents must leave the area immediately.

A Red Cross shelter has been set up in the town of Chelan for anyone who needs assistance, including cots, meals and water.

Barn fire does $60k in property damage

Another wildfire was likely avoided Thursday morning after a barn burst into flames early Thursday morning south of Freeman High School on the 14300 block of East Drumheller Road.

The owner of the home woke up to a loud explosion just before 4 a.m. Inside his barn were several pieces of equipment a tractor, several propane tanks and that is what caused such a massive fire ball that even firefighters could see from miles away.

?As our engine pulled out of Valleyford Fire Station they could see the engine and the smoke and we had a report that it was getting into the grass and timber as well,? Fire District 8 Chief Glen Godfrey said.

Godfrey added had conditions been different Thursday morning much more than the barn would have been in trouble.

?It was still pretty humid this morning, the temperature was down, I can already feel the temperature rising and I can already feel it drying out this morning and we are picking up a breeze now," he said.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Vantage Bridge on I-90 closed

TRAFFIC ALERT: Vantage Bridge on I-90 closed

A multi-vehicle accident involving an estimated 15 semitrucks and 6 cars has prompted Washington State Department of Transportation to close part of Interstate 90 in central Washington.

I-90 westbound is closed at milepost 136 near the Vantage Bridge over the Columbia river, and eastbound at milepost 115 near Kittitas.

Drivers are being detoured onto local roads. There is no estimate for a reopening time. 

The collision occured just after 11 am eastbound near milepost 127.

Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Thanks to a boost in June, Washington's unemployment numbers have dropped to their lowest levels in six years to 5.8 percent – that's according to the state's Employment Security Department.

Industry sectors saw the largest growth with 2,600 jobs. Retail grew by 2,200, leisure and hospitality by 1,900 and wholesale trade by 1,400. Professional and business services, information, manufacturing, financial services and mining also saw growth in the hundreds.

“After a hiring lull in May, Washington employers really picked up the pace in June,” said Paul Turek, an economist with the department. “The state's economy is picking up momentum and the near term job outlook is good.”

During the one-year period ending in June, Employment Security estimates that employers created 84,700 jobs.

State of emergency declared for 20 counties

State of emergency declared for 20 counties

A state of emergency has been declared in 20 eastern Washington counties due to multiple wildfires threatening homes, businesses and public infrastructure. The National Weather Service has also posted red flag warnings and fire weather watches for hazardous conditions (high temperatures, low humidity, high winds) for much of eastern Washington through Friday.

Impacted counties include:

Dog killed during home invasion, suspects remain at large

Dog killed during home invasion, suspects remain at large

Spokane police are searching for two suspects after a home invasion near the Northtown Mall late Tuesday night.

Just after 11 pm, police say two men entered a home in the 100 block of E. Hoffman at gunpoint.

There was a confrontation with the homeowners, and at least one shot was fired, fatally killing a dog inside the home. No human injuries were reported.

The men took several unknown items before leaving the home on foot. A search of the immediate area was not successful and the suspects are still on the loose.

Police say they are described as two males, wearing white shirts with hats and bandannas over their faces. They do not believe this was a random attack.

Anyone with information should call crime check at 456-2233.

Crews contain Henry Road wildfire

An unusual sight on the mountain side southwest of Liberty Lake Tuesday after a wildfire broke out sending a column of smoke into the afternoon air.

The Henry Road Fire burned 27 acres before firefighters were able to build hand and dozer lines around it shortly before 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. The fire was burning on the side of Mica Peak.

It was first reported by a fire crew patrolling the area around 4:00 p.m.

"Fire conditions are extreme right now," Fire Information Officer Jeff Sevigny said.

The fire was in such a remote area south of Henry Road firefighters had to hike a ways to get to the fire.

"Steep and treacherous," Sevigny said. "Access is very limited at this time, crews are having to hike in. It's about a 40 minute hike."

No homes were threatened. No injuries were been reported, except for a firefighter who was stung by a bee.

There was quite a bit of lightning in the area Monday night, but fire officials are not saying if that's what caused the fire.