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Gray Fire evacuation zones around Medical Lake re-open to residents

A map of the Gray Fire, which burned through Medical Lake as well as the community of Four Lakes. It covers about 10,000 acres and destroyed about 259 structures.
Northeast Washington Fire Information Facebook page
A map of the Gray Fire, which burned through Medical Lake as well as the community of Four Lakes. It covers about 10,000 acres and destroyed about 185 structures.

Most residents impacted by the Gray Fire, a 10,000 acre wildfire burning in the Medical Lake area, can now return to their property.

The Gray Fire, which has burned an estimated 10,000 acres is now 25% contained. Utility providers say they have been unable to connect 259 homes and other primary structures in the Gray Fire because of serious damage.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, District 3 Fire Chief Cody Rohrbach said people should be still cautious if they return to their property because of potential hazards that remain, such as hot spots, unsafe air quality and damaged trees.

He asked people who don’t live in evacuation zones to stay clear to allow residents to assess the damage and grieve, and to allow fire crews to continue their work.

“We grieve with our community and we want everyone to recognize that this is going to be a difficult night for our community,” Rohrbach said.

All Gray Fire evacuations zones except the west Side of Silver Lake are now open. Up to date evacuation maps will be posted to the Spokane County Emergency ManagementFacebook page.

Patrick Lair, the public information officer for the Gray Fire, said this morning’s rain slowed fire activity, allowing crews to catch up.

"It helps a great deal, and what it does is it keeps fire behavior to a minimum, and that allows all the firefighters to really get an upper hand in strengthening control and containment lines, and getting out in front of the fire," Lair said.

He said firefighters are working on holding the lines they have built, and going through areas that have already burned to put out any debris pile, and check on potential hot spots.

The Oregon Fire, which started outside of Elk, is still zero percent contained.

Dana Leavitt, public information officer for the fire said the spread has significantly slowed since the weekend, but the fire is still growing incrementally.

He said air support from helicopters and tankers has also been extremely helpful, allowing firefighters to push into areas that would normally be extremely dangerous to them.

The Oregon Fire has grown since yesterday, burning about 11,036 acres total.

Fire managers estimate around 80 structures have been lost in the Oregon fire.

A map of the Oregon Fire, burning in North Spokane County. It's burned about 11,000 acres total, including more than 80 structures.
Northeast Washington Fire Information Center Facebook page
A map of the Oregon Fire, burning in North Spokane County. It's burned about 11,000 acres total, including more than 80 structures.

Wildfire Resources:

Fire evacuation maps are available at Spokane County Emergency Management’s Facebook page, as well as other emergency information.

Spokane Falls Community College, 3410 W Whistalks Way Spokane, WA

Riverside High School, 4120 E Deer Park Milan Road Chattaroy, WA

Individuals can contact the Red Cross for assistance at: (509) 326-3330 or RedCross.org.

The Spokane County Fairgrounds and Expo Center are open to shelter large animals or livestock from evacuated areas.

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) (509) 477-2532, Emergency Phone – (509) 477-2533