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Rutter Canyon Fire Burns Timber Outside Spokane Limits

Stephanie Ingoldby
Spokane Public Radio

Fire crews have been making progress on the Rutter Canyon fire, burning just north of the Spokane city limits. The 150 acre fire was 25 percent contained by Thursday morning.

Fire officials say they have been able to downgrade the evacuation notice for 30 homes in the area to the lowest level. Fighting the fire has been difficult because of the rocky terrain in the box canyon, and falling trees have posed a threat to crew members.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Guy Gifford says the other issue has been the heat, which hit 99 degrees on Wednesday, and was to reach 100 Thursday.

Gifford: “The key thing is our crews train for this type of weather. We make sure they have enough water, they know how much to drink. When they go to the bathroom, they actually check the color of their urine to make sure they are staying hydrated. So we do a lot of education and training ahead of time to make sure the crews can work in this type of environment.”

Gifford says those firefighters have been putting in a 12 to 14 hour day on the fire lines.

Crews hope to get more of a handle on the blaze before a storm system moves in Friday, with gusty winds and potential for thunderstorms.

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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