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New wildfires break out in eastern Washington

Whitman County wildfire
Courtesy of Whitman County Sheriff's Office
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Crews responded Thursday evening to what has been dubbed the Riparia fire near Central Ferry in Whitman County.

Fires in Adams and Whitman counties ignited Thursday, spread by brisk winds.

Washington state firefighters are headed to several eastern Washington wildfires. Some were dispatched earlier this week to the Williams Lake fire, burning in southwest Spokane County. They continue to work that one.

Officials are sending crews to at least two fires that began Thursday.

A fire burned near Lind in Adams County, forcing many who live in and around the town to evacuate for several hours. Some went to a shelter set up by the Red Cross at the grade school in nearby Ritzville.

Adams County Sheriff Dale Wagner says the flames burned six homes and eight other structures. Agricultural crops and other infrastructure were threatened. But evacuation orders were rescinded last evening and people were allowed to go home.

During a briefing on Facebook, Wagner credited the community for helping with the firefighting efforts.

“They’re stepping up. The local store is assisting with water, hydration. They’re assisting with sandwiches and food for the firefighters, hydration, all the things that we need. Up here in Ritzville, everybody’s doing a great job from medical staff, the school district has stepped up huge. Lots of teachers, people are coming up to assist people that they don’t even know," he said.

State crews have also been dispatched to the Riparia Fire, burning near the town of Central Ferry in Whitman County. That has charred about three thousand acres. State officials say that one began late afternoon. Local crews have been working to contain it.

Meanwhile, firefighters continue to work to contain the Williams Lake fire, burning in southwest Spokane County. Officials have downgraded the acreage estimate on that to about a thousand acres, burning in rough terrain. Crews had to contend not only with the flames, but also with brisk winds yesterday. Those have begun to die down.