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Updated: Little Spokane Fire Active Tuesday; Progress Made Overnight

Little Spokane Fire
231 Fire Command Center

As of 10:00am Wednesday:

The fire is still completely un-contained, but fire incident commanders say they have a fire line around all of the blaze. Fire officials say they are making good progress at the fire burning along the Little Spokane River just north of Spokane.

The Little Spokane Fire sparked Monday afternoon at a hiking and paddling trailhead in Riverside State Park. Fire officials for this blaze and the '231 Fire' are sharing a command center.

Fire information officer Jim Hyland says there are fire lines in place around 100% of the fire, but officials have yet to reinforce those lines to ensure the fire would not escape. Hyland says by that definition, the containment is actually at zero percent, but that good progress was made Tuesday. Numerous aircraft are battling the blaze by dropping water.

Hyland: “I would characterize it as excellent, it was one of the greatest displays of firefighting I’ve seen in my career. And that zero percent containment is not a number to be alarmed at, at this time.”

Residents living to the northeast of the fire on River Park Lane have been told they can return to their homes. Rutter Parkway was reopened last night.  (Initially, there were level two evacuations for 17 homes on a ridgeline, but it has been reduced to fewer homes Wednesday.)

Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Sarah Foster says the fire burned very actively Tuesday. She says it’s larger than 175 and began from human causes at the Painted Rocks Trailhead.

Foster: “There’s been some significant efforts made to keep this fire in check. Not only are they using retardant and the water that comes from helicopters, but those ground resources are in there, too. Really trying to get a handle on this before anything else happens with the weather.

Nearby closures include the Lake Spokane boat launch and campground, and Painted Rocks Trailhead. She advises people to stay away from the Little Spokane River because helicopters are scooping water out of it.

She says it may be obvious, but she needs the public’s help in making sure new fires don’t start. The cause of this fire is under investigation.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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