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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

New fires erupt, prompting immediate evacuations near Rice and Winthrop as forecast remains unclear

UPDATED: Sat., July 17, 2021

For the first time in about a month, the National Weather Service in Spokane said the area saw an average temperature, as the high Friday at the Spokane International Airport was 84, and the average for July 16 is 85.

But that probably won’t last, as the weather service issued a heat advisory for the weekend. And it didn’t prevent another fire from breaking out and threatening structures in Stevens County Friday.

Temperatures will likely rise into the mid-90s by Sunday and next week will stay in the mid-90s to low 100s range.

Air quality is likely to stay in the good range for the next two days, but new fires in the area could change that, the weather service said.

The service said they don’t expect gusty winds this weekend, despite an uptick in winds Friday.

Lightning storms are somewhat anticipated for next week, though the NWS said they are not confident about those as of Friday evening.

Meanwhile, officials issued immediate evacuations for residents on Goddard Road and Pleasant Valley after a fire grew to more than 300 acres Friday evening in Stevens County near Rice.

The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook that an evacuation center is located at the Evergreen Elementary School at 3341 Addy-Gifford Road in Gifford.

The Washington Fire Marshal tweeted the fire threatened some structures on Friday evening. State resources were mobilized for the area.

Level 2 evacuation orders were set for Chamberlin Road on Friday evening, the sheriff’s office said. This meant residents needed to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

The Red Cross Northwest set up locations at Methow Valley Elementary School at 18 Twin Lakes Rd. in Winthrop and the Evergreen Elementary School, according to its Twitter.

Stevens County Fire District 12 and the state Department of Natural Resources responded to the fire using multiple ground and air resources, but it was not contained as of 6 p.m. Friday, the sheriff’s office said on its social media.

The sheriff’s office asked people to stay off Lake Roosevelt and to not fly any drones in the area to avoid hampering firefighting efforts.

The fire was called in at around 1:45 p.m. Friday.

In Winthrop, the Cub Creek fire prompted Level 3 evacuation orders Friday evening for residents on Eastside Chewuch Road, north of West Chewuch Road, including River Bend Drive, Cottonwood Lane and South Heaton Road, according to the Okanogan County Emergency Management Facebook page.

Level 2 “be ready” evacuation orders were set for Diamond T Road, Old Cabin Road, Fiddlers Road, Bear Fight Road, Three Seasons Road, Lonesome Grouse Road and Eklund Road.

The fire began north of Winthrop on Friday evening.

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