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UPDATE: Several eastern Washington fires burning; Medical Lake, neighboring towns evacuated

Spokane National Weather Service office
The Spokane National Weather Service office took this photo of the smoke coming from the Medical Lake area.

UPDATE at 8:50 am: Washington SR 904 from Cheney to I-90/Four Lakes has reopened. Eastbound I-90 detour is currently to utilize all of SR 904.

All previously closed routes remain closed at this time. This includes:
- I-90 both directions from Tyler (MP 257) to US 2 (MP 277)
- SR 902 the entire length of the roadway

The Gray fire burning near Medical Lake has been estimated at 9,500 acres with 0% containment. The Washington Department of Natural Resources reported one person has been killed and many structures burned. People seeking to flee the smoke and fire can go to Spokane Falls Community College. They can take their large animals to the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

Also, the Oregon Road fire near Elk has grown to more than 3,000 acres. More than 150 homes are still threatened. About 30 structures burned.

Air quality is poor throughout much of eastern Washington and north Idaho due to wildfire smoke.

NEW at 8:10 pm: From the Washington Department of Transportation's X account: "SR 904 between Cheney at milepost 12 up to I-90 at Four Lakes is currently CLOSED. Drivers are being detoured onto Cheney-Spokane Road to US 195. This includes the already detoured drivers from I-90 onto SR 904 into Cheney."

Several other wildfires are active in eastern Washington. The 2,000-acre (according to the state Department of Natural Resources) Oregon fire is burning near Elk in north Spokane County. Level 3 evacuations are in effect there. A new Level 2 evacuation order also issued for residents. West to Elk-Chattaroy Road. East to Blanchard
Creek. South to Laurel. North to Blanchard Road. Be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.

A 5,000 acre fire (according to the Washington Fire Marshal's office) is burning near the town of Winona in Whitman County. Evacuations are in effect there. The state has authorized outside help to fight that.

Another fire is burning near Spangle, west of Spokane.

Medical Lake fire:

The areas around Medical Lake, Silver Lake, Clear Lake and Four Lakes are all under evacuation from a rapidly spreading wildfire. Fire officials say the fire has reached 3,000 acres and has 0% containment.

There is an evacuation shelter at Cheney High School. The fire is fueled by strong winds, dry fuels and low-humidity. Several helicopters are scooping water from nearby lakes and dropping it on the flames.

According to a statement from the Washington State Fire Marshal’s office, the fire is threatening the town of Medical Lake, Eastern State Hospital, the Lakeland Village facility and Highway 902. The community of Four Lakes is also now at risk and fire officials say the fire has jumped Interstate 90, closing the highway in both directions.

The latest Level 3 evacuation orders are for: Gray on the West. Murphy on the East. I90 on the North. 902 on the South.

According to the Washington Department of Transportation's X account: "WB I-90 is CLOSED at the US 2 interchange in Spokane. No signed detour is available. Avoid I-90/Medical Lake and SR 902 at this time due to the wildfire. EB I-90 is CLOSED at the Tyler/SR 904 interchange. Detour available via SR 904 through Cheney."

The department reports in a Tweet: "STA busses repositioning to Cheney High School to assist with evacuations in the event that the Level 1 evac warning becomes Level 3 (Go Now) for the City of Cheney with the potential wind shift this evening."

The fire is burning in grass and timber, and is threatening homes and other structures. Officials say some structures have caught fire, but firefighters have been unable to confirm how many, or what buildings. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The state has already mobilized to aid local firefighters fighting the fire.

For updates on the fire and the most current evacuation maps, please go to the Spokane County Emergency Management Facebook page.

The State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray is active to coordinate state assistance for the Gray Fire. The state has ordered four strike teams and air resources.

This story is being updated as more information is reported.

An evacuation map for the Gray Fire burning in the Medical Lake area.
Spokane County Emergency Management
An evacuation map for the Gray Fire burning in the Medical Lake area.