CHENEY, Wash. — Tuesday, August 9 update:
All evacuation levels around the Williams Lake Fire have been removed as of Monday morning. Spokane County Fire District 3 is asking people to still watch for crews in the area as the fire is still burning.
The Williams Lake Fire started on Wednesday in Cheney. It has since burned 1,868 acres and is 80% contained as of Tuesday afternoon.
A rapidly-growing wildfire broke out near Williams Lake in Cheney on Wednesday afternoon. As a result, three structures were destroyed, a fire engine was burned and is now a total loss. 40 homes in the region are under Level 2 evacuations due to the flames.
As of Friday at 8 p.m., Level 3 evacuation levels were reduced to level 2. According to Spokane County Fire District 4's Jared Harms, there was minimal fire growth on Thursday due to high winds, but crews were able to control them. As of Friday, crews are going to continue to improve containment lines and hopefully get a more accurate acreage count.
The fire is estimated to have grown to over 1,800 acres. The Williams Lake Fire is 10% contained, according to Spokane County Fire District 3.
Officials said the fire is rural and moving into more broken, rocky terrain, bluffs and cliffs. Level 2 evacuations remain in place for the area. Air support will be coming in Thursday to help further contain the blaze.
The fire district also reported that no primary residences have been lost. However, three other structures were lost in the fire.
The fire started at approximately 2:34 p.m. on Wednesday. When fire crews arrived, the fire was already well established and spread quickly due to the high winds in the area.
40 residences were under Level 3 evacuations as of Wednesday night. Additionally, nearly 100 residences and approximately 400 structures are threatened.
DNR sent multiple resources to aid in fighting the fire, including two tankers. Fire boss planes and agencies from Spokane, Whitman and Lincoln counties also aided in the fire, according to Fire District 3. State fire assistance was mobilized at approximately 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
At this time, no injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
The American Red Cross will open a shelter at Cheney High School (460 N 6th St., Cheney, WA 99004) in response to the Williams Lake Fire. The shelter will open at 10:00 p.m. Assistance available at the shelter will include food, cots and other urgent needs, according to the Red Cross. All individuals in the area are requested to get to safety immediately.
Regarding the shelter at Cheney High School, pets are allowed in the building. The American Red Cross is trying to figure out the best way to provide shelter for livestock.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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