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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Crews douse two small new blazes, expect Cheney fires to be fully contained Sunday

UPDATED: Sat., July 27, 2019

Crews fighting four wildfires located southwest of Cheney known collectively as the Cheney Complex fire kept the fire 65% contained overnight and on Saturday.

Windy weather left firefighters fearful of new wildfires or more spread from current fires, and those fears were partially realized Saturday afternoon when two brush fires started Saturday afternoon southwest of Spokane.

Those small blazes – a haystack fire in Cheney and a brush fire near railroad tracks in Medical Lake – were unrelated to the Cheney Complex fire and were quickly knocked down, said Fire District 3 Chief Cody Rohrbach.

“They are nothing really big,” he said. “We’re getting a good knock-down on them.”

Rohrbach said a large number of firefighters responded to the fires because of strong wind Saturday. The cause of those fires is not known, he said, adding that crews were dousing the hay and brush Saturday around 4:30 p.m.

As for the Cheney Complex fire, officials expected them to be fully contained on Sunday, according to a Saturday news release from Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 2.

“Crews will be working on all four fires today as well as keeping their equipment available to assist if any new fires start in our immediate area,” the release said. “Infrared heat detection equipment will be out on the fire line today to assist in locating any additional areas of concern.”

Cheney Complex fire remains spread across 171 acres. It started Wednesday morning after a Tuesday night storm that included hundreds of lightning strikes.

All evacuated residents have returned to their homes as of Saturday, according to the news release.

A red flag warning was in effect for Spokane and much of Eastern Washington from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday because of wind and low humidity. Forecasters expected 15 mph winds, with gusts up to 35 mph, would blow across the region.

The county is under a burn ban that restricts outdoor fires, including campfires.

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