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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Pacific NW

I-90 closed near George due to wildfire

July 20, 2015 Updated Mon., July 20, 2015 at 6:01 p.m.

A wildfire that started Sunday in Grant County reignited Monday afternoon, racing across open fields of sage brush and growing quickly to nearly 800 acres. Driven east by 20 mph winds, the fire jumped over Interstate 90 early in the afternoon, prompting officials to close the freeway from milepost 138, east of the Columbia River, to milepost 154, about five miles east of George. Officials diverted traffic onto Highway 26. Officials initially said a tractor-trailer had been destroyed; the Washington State Patrol later reported the fire burned a trailer full of hay, but the driver unhitched and drove away in time. No injuries were reported. Nearly 50 homes were ordered to evacuate around 2 p.m., but within two hours the orders were reduced to a warning as the fire moved away, said Deputy Kyle Foreman, spokesman for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. The homes were scattered across rural farmland, and the nearest to the fire was about a mile away, Foreman said. Once some roads had been cleared, evacuees could return to their homes around 6 p.m. I-90 remained closed due to poor visibility from the smoke. Foreman said the fire burned between 700 and 800 acres. He could not gauge firefighters’ progress but said the strong winds were making efforts difficult. Nearly 200 personnel from Grant County, Spokane, Moses Lake, Wilson Creek and Electric City were at the scene, and state fire assistance was called in shortly after 5 p.m., Foreman said.
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