A 25-acre fire believed to have been started by a man who was later arrested was driven by strong gusts as it burned through timber and grass Friday between Spokane and Airway Heights, spurring evacuations for some residents.
Spokane County Fire District 10 Chief Ken Johnson said shortly after 9 p.m. that the fire, which started around 5 p.m. in the area of U.S. Highway 2 and Grove Road, was 0% contained and about a dozen structures were threatened.
But no structures had been lost and there were no injuries, he said.
Johnson said the Spokane Police Department arrested a 24-year-old man on suspicion of reckless burning. He said he spotted the man walking around with a BBQ lighter and stopped him before police arrested him. Johnson said he was unsure if the fire was started intentionally or accidentally.
Level 3 evacuations were issued on Grove Road, but they were reduced to Level 1 around 8 p.m., Johnson said.
He said Level 3 means there is an immediate threat to people’s safety and requires immediate evacuations. Level 1 means people should be aware a fire is in the area and they may have to evacuate if conditions change.
Johnson said about 75 firefighters from seven agencies battled the blaze. Gusts of 25 to 30 mph worsened the flames.
He said crews planned to work through the night fighting the fire. The Spokane Fire Department expected to have personnel in three brush trucks throughout the night watching out for structures, Johnson said.
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