The Summer of Fires

Author: Adam Marshall - uncategorized - Sept. 6, 2023

First off, we want to thank the first responders and support agencies for their outstanding efforts on the ground and in the air over these last four months. Latah Valley, as most everyone knows first-hand, has experienced numerous fire events which consumed dozens of acres and had potential for widespread destruction, putting lives in danger. Had it not been for the decisive response and minor wind conditions in otherwise highly dangerous environmental conditions, hundreds of additional homes and people would have been at risk or lost

Here is a snapshot of these events:
May 1st Grandview House Fire – full response, seven fire trucks, stopped fire on hill below the house.

May 13th Qualchan House Fire – 2 Alarm response 20+ fire trucks, stopped fire on hill below house

July 31st
Car Fire on US 195 – Brush fire burned uphill threatening homes in Eagle Ridge
Hallett Fire
Chief Schaeffer says, “Latah Valley is on an island, and we can’t deliver the response requirement of 17 firefighters in 11 mins”. 10:17 min mark

Aug 3rd Sunset Fire

Aug 20th Thorpe Fire
Evacuation did occur for some, and many experienced block roads, poor communication/notifications, and traffic jams. Our hearts go out to the victims of the Gray and Oregon Rd Fire. These fires demonstrated just how vulnerable we are. The time for change is now, we must ensure the safety of our residents and first responders.


We know of at least three candidates running for office who want the change needed for the Latah Valley. On August 17th, Paul Dillon (candidate for Spokane City Council District 2), Betsy Wilkerson (candidate for Spokane Council President), and Lisa Brown (candidate for Spokane Mayor) publicly called for a moratorium asking for, “a pause on new residential development in the Latah Valley until the necessary public safety facilities can be planned for and funded.”

The fire events alone from this summer reinforce what we have been asking for from the beginning….a moratorium. We need to address the public safety issues in the Latah Valley, but we also need to find solutions. We need you to get the word out.

We should not wait until the November election to press for what is needed in the Latah Valley, so please email all the Spokane city council members and the mayor, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Contact them and call for a moratorium until we can find real solutions for all the issues we are facing in the Latah Valley.


Dear [city council member; mayor]

It has been a summer of devastating and deadly fires for the Spokane area. Though spared of the incredible loss experienced by those affected by the Oregon Road and Gray Fires, the Latah Valley had several close calls which included Level 3 evacuations. I am contacting you today to enact a moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley (Grandview/Thorpe, Latah/Hangman, Eagle Ridge, Qualchan) besides all the other underserved or missing infrastructure, deficient level of service for fire response alone warrants such action.

Lack of adequate planning and monitoring by the city over the last 20+ years, along with a long list of infrastructure missing in the Latah Valley has positioned the residents literally in harm's way along with many other quality of life aspects one should expect from a neighborhood in Spokane. This area cannot handle any level of major development adequately, responsibly, or safely until comprehensive planning is complete. Increasing traffic impact fees and general facility charges were important but still insufficient. Latah Valley requires dedicated city funding and action now for needed infrastructure.

There is a pathway to balance the integrity of the Latah Valley, protect the agricultural and wildlife corridors, manage traffic movements, and allow for smart development adequately, safely, and mindfully. That can only happen by pausing more major development in an area that lacks community resources and appropriate infrastructure.

The pressure to grow Spokane should never come at the expense of preserving what makes Spokane a wonderful place to live. Please do the right thing – enact a moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley until comprehensive planning can be undertaken and funding sources identified for needed infrastructure.


Nadine Woodward =
Ryan Oelrich =
Michael Cathcart =
Jonathan Bingle =
Lori Kinnear =
Betsy Wilkerson =
Zac Zappone =
Karen Stratton =


No Comments Yet
Add Comment...

Adam Marshall's bio.

© 2022 Citizen Action For Latah Valley