This conservation area, which is located in Spokane County, is protected by a coalition of public and non-profit organizations (including the Spokane County Parks and Recreation Department, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, and the Dishman Hills Conservancy) and is managed by the Spokane County Parks and Recreation Department. When the granite outcroppings, which make up the majority of the area, were first formed 70 million years ago, they were caused by volcanic magma pushing up through the Earth’s crust and then cooling. The protected Dishman Hills Natural Resources Conservation Area, with its rugged, potholed appearance and deep gullies, was created as a result of the Missoula Floods and represents one of the most ecologically diverse regions in Washington state, where forests, grasslands, and shrublands converge. It is located within two ecoregions, the Okanagan and Northern Rockies ecoregions, and is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains.
Its hills are made up of little ravines, ponds, and enormous chunks of granite, which support an eco-system that is mostly made up of ponderosa pines, but also contains over 300 different floral plants (including Indian Camas) and 73 distinct species of mushrooms, among other things. Coyotes, marmots, white-tailed deer, pheasants, and hundreds of species of butterflies can all be seen in the area, as well as a variety of other animals. It is located immediately south of the Dishman part of the City of Spokane Valley that the Dishman Hills are formed. As one travels south out of the park, the height continues to rise until one reaches the Rocks of Sharon and the Iller Creek Conservation Area, which are located at the summit of Krell Mountain.
The Valley View Fire, which began in the Dishman Hills area on Thursday, July 10, 2008, at approximately 3:30 p.m. local time, was brought under control. As of Friday morning, 1,200 acres had been burned and 11 residences had been damaged. Spokane County has been declared a state of emergency by Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington State, effective immediately. A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the area, and two shelters have been established in and around Spokane Valley.
The incident was started by a smoldering fire started by a resident of South Eastern Lane, who was evacuated. The smoldering fire had been started many days before the Dishman Hills Fire and had been left neglected inside of an old tree stump until it was re-ignited by strong winds on the afternoon of Thursday, July 11, when it was discovered. These same winds accelerated the spread of the fire across the Dishman Hills and put hundreds of homes along Dishman-Mica Road in immediate danger. It is believed that several residences in the Park Drive neighborhood, which is located between the fire’s start and the Dishman Hills Natural Area, were directly in its path. Some of the elements that contributed to the development of the fire included exceptional wind speeds and the abundance of natural fuel in the Dishman Hills area, among other things.
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