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Fire south of Spokane spreads

The Apache Pass wildfire burning about 40 miles southwest of Spokane spread overnight as more than 100 firefighters worked to contain 18,000 burning acres.

The Spokane Fire Department is reporting 15 percent containment and aircraft has been called in to help fight the blaze.

No additional evacuations have been ordered, but previous orders given to approximately 12 residents were still in place this morning.

“No primary residences have been lost but a few outbuildings have been damaged,” a news release from the department said today.

The fire department also is warning of health risks due to poor air quality as smoke from the wildfire blows through Spokane.

Earlier today, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, today’s air quality ranking was 124 on a scale of zero to 500, with 200 and over indicating an unhealthy state. The ranking never reached above 100 all of last year, according to data from the agency’s website.

However, by 1:30 p.m., that rating had dropped to 62.

Poor air quality brings greater risk, in particular, for people with heart or lung diseases like congestive heart failure, angina, emphysema or asthma as well as children and older adults.

The Clean Air Agency advises those at risk to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. The fire department was advising people to keep indoor air as clean as possible, including keeping windows and doors closed, running an air conditioner with the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean.

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