NCWLIFE Evening News September 8th, 2020

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Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. Grant Olson will be with us later on for the weather; I’m Jefferson Robbins. The Labor Day weekend left us with a lot of news to share with you, and the biggest news right now can be found right outside our weather window:

The smoke you’re seeing is the product of multiple fires burning in North Central Washington and across the region, most of which broke out just on Monday. 58 new wildfires were kindled in 18 Washington counties, burning hundreds of thousands of acres, with high winds sending smoke and ash as far west as Seattle. We’ll have a full look at those fires as we move along tonight.The Pearl Hill Fire has burned almost 175,000 acres in Douglas County and destroyed several structures. It was caused when sparks from the Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan County jumped the Columbia River Monday morning, and ignited the new wind-driven blaze. Level 3 evacuation notices remained in place this afternoon for the entire town of Mansfield, though winds Monday evening pushed the fire west toward McNeil Canyon Road. Those winds eased up Tuesday morning, slowing the fire’s advance. Bridgeport is also under Level 3 evacuations, with structures in that area also reportedly lost. The entire perimeter of the fire is currently under Level 3 notice. The incident management team called in to fight the fire hoped to get aircraft involved today, after the wind and smoke kept planes and helicopters grounded Monday.

If not for the smoke, we’d be seeing a fairly placid weather picture right now, with temperatures no higher than the 70s and not a lot of wind. That picture is due to change with warmer temperatures later this week. Grant will be along later tonight with the full weather picture.

And now, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight:

The Apple Acres Fire is the newest of the large fires burning in our area, smaller but just as fast-growing as its neighbor the Cold Springs-Pearl Hill Fire

Air quality hits an unhappy low, with unhealthy smoke and ash filtering through the central Washington valleys.

And two dramatic motorcycle accidents in the Methow Valley over Labor Day weekend leave two people dead and two others badly injured.

But first, we begin tonight. . .Though the Pearl Hill Fire and Cold Springs Fire are part of one big fire, they have been categorized separately for firefighting purposes. Cold Springs has burned about 140,000 acres and destroyed several structures in Okanogan County. That fire started about 9:50 Sunday on the Colville Indian Reservation and quickly spread into Douglas County in the red-flag-warning-level winds.

The Apple Acres Fire is the newest large fire afflicting NCW tonight. This one broke out about 11:25 a.m. Monday and grew by evening to about 2,500 acres in dry grass, brush, and timber north of Lake Chelan Airport. Level 3 evacuation notices went out that afternoon to homes in Antoine Creek, Washington Creek and Cagle Gulch areas. Like neighboring fires, the Apple Acres incident was quickly assigned to a state mobilization team. Local fire officials said they were able to achieve roughly 70 percent containment overnight, as the unpredictable winds died down. Anyone forced from their homes by this or other fires in the area should call the Red Cross for shelter assistance at 670-5331.

In Grant County, the Beverly Burke Fire led to Level 3 evacuations Monday near the town of Beverly but those had been lowered to Level 1 by Tuesday morning. The fire has burned about 2,000 acres and is being fought by 35 firefighters from area agencies. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said the fire is not currently an active threat as winds calmed enough overnight to allow firefighters to make significant progress.

Hundreds of firefighters and multiple state agencies are involved in battling these blazes across the state. This afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee addressed Washington as it struggles through the massive fire outbreak:

Coming up next, poor air quality from wildfire smoke and blowing dust has had amajor impact on the region. And gunfire breaks out over the weekend near a Quincy neighborhood and school building. I’m Jefferson Robbins and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Stay with us.

Welcome back, in other news tonight …

All these fires, in North Central Washington and beyond, are contributing to very poor air quality throughout the region. The outdoor particle pollution in Wenatchee, Leavenworth, and the Methow Valley was rated in the red zone, unhealthy to breathe, throughout the day by the state Department of Ecology.

The Columbia Basin also struggled with changing air quality that could affect people with asthma, pulmonary disease or other conditions. Particulate matter from wildfire smoke can irritate lungs and throats, and contribute to shortness of breath, headaches and chest pain. Health officials advise everyone in these conditions to limit their time outside, and avoid strenuous activity.

A woman from Rainier is dead and her motorcycling partner injured after their vehicle struck a deer Friday night on Highway 20 between Twisp and Okanogan.

Freda A. Sallee, a 77-year-old passenger on the motorcycle, was pronounced dead almost two hours after the crash, as rescuers prepared to airlift her for medical aid at Twisp Municipal Airport. The driver, 69-year-old Larry W. Pesacreta of Rainier, was injured and airlifted to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. Troopers said Pesacreta’s 2014 Harley Davidson struck the animal while eastbound near milepost 206 about 7:43 p.m. The motorcycle was destroyed in the accident.

In a separate accident,a 27-year-old Auburn woman was killed and a Seattle man seriously injured when the motorcycle they were riding collided with a vehicle on Highway 20 Sunday night west of Winthrop.

The accident happened at 7:15 p.m. when a 2007 Yamaha, being driven east by 35-year-old Devin Harris of Seattle, attempted to pass a 2002 Acura driven by 25-year-old Brandon Kindred of Twisp. The Washington State Patrol said the motorcycle attempted the pass just as Kindred, was turning left into a turnout. The motorcycle struck the rear of the Acura, killing the passenger, Megan Harris. Devin Harris was injured and airlifted to Central Washington Hospital. The State Patrol said the motorcycle following too closely was the cause of the accident.

Gunshots Saturday night in Quincy hit a number of vehicles, a house and a boat but there were no injuries.

The Quincy Police Department said numerous people reported the gunfire about 9:47 p.m. in the area of 3rd Avenue Southeast and J Street Southeast by Pioneer Elementary School. By the time police arrived, the suspects had fled the area, the police department said. Police located several gun casings in the intersection. No arrests have yet been made in the shooting.

You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up next, a video catalogue from eyewitness accounts of this weekend’s wildfires. That plus weather and sports still to come on the NCWLIFE Evening News, stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News…

For our feature story this evening we have videos showing the Cold Springs Fire at its origins in Okanogan County and its quick spread into Douglas County, where it ignited the Pearl Hill Fire and threatened the towns of Bridgeport and Mansfield.

Now it’s over to Grant Olsen for a look beyond the smoke at today’s weather. Grant?

And that is a look at your local weather forecast, coming up next, tonight’s sports report with Eric Granstrom and more as the NCWLIFE Evening News continues right after this.

Thanks Grant.

Finally from us tonight, the Wenatchee School District has agreed to pay about $27,000 to a special education student whose hand was badly injured by a paper shredder.

Lawyers for the high school student say in 2018 she was assigned to office tasks including paper shredding, as part of her individual education program. Her left hand became stuck in the shredder, and she suffered lacerations and broken bones. The girl’s family says she was not properly supervised when the injury occurred. In a settlement motion, the district says it will pay $27,500 to settle the family’s claims. More than $18,000 will be placed into a trust for the benefit of the student herself.

And that’s going to do it for our newscast tonight. For more on these stories and other news from around North Central Washington, you can find us on Facebook or our website at ncwlife.com. And, remember, if you see news happening we’d like to hear from you.  You can send us an email at news@ncwlife.com, or give us a call 888-NCWL (6295). I’m Jefferson Robbins. Grant Olsen will be back in the anchor chair tomorrow night. Have a great evening.