Gray Fire Update: Monday, August 21, 2023
The Gray Fire started August 18 near Gray Road west of Medical Lake and quickly spread to the east and southeast, through Medical Lake and across I-90. Level 3 evacuations remain in place for the Medical Lake area. Unauthorized entry hinders the work of ﬁreﬁghters. Emergency personnel are asking residents to respect evacuation areas as crews work to make reentry safe again.
Northwest Incident Management Team 7 assumed management of the Gray Fire this morning from Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team 1.
Today’s Activities: As fire activity moderates with limited fire growth expected today, firefighters are able to make increased progress strengthening containment lines and mopping up along the fire perimeter. Fire crews are constructing handlines to connect sections of dozer lines together and strengthen containment lines.
Firefighters are also moving into the interior of the fire to mitigate unburned pockets of fuel.
Crews are working within the fire perimeter to secure unburned structures and reduce risk from hot spots. Additional strike teams of engines are dedicated to responding to emergency calls about possible new concerns near structures within the fire perimeter. Power utilities are making progress restoring power poles and lines.
Weather: Relative humidity levels should rise throughout the day, leading to a probability of light rain in the afternoon or evening. While the rain may not be a “wetting rain” over the fire, it will help reduce fire growth. This weather system should moderate temperatures for the next few days.
Evacuations: Spokane County Emergency Management have reduced the evacuation levels for a portion of the area as of August 21 at 12:01 a.m. Evacuation maps are posted on the Gray Fire Inciweb page and the Spokane County Emergency Management Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GEGEmergencyMgt.
The Red Cross shelter for people and their pets is located at Spokane Falls Community College. The Spokane County Fairgrounds is available to shelter large animals or livestock from evacuated areas.
Interstate 90: I-90 remains closed between Tyler (milepost 257) and Four Lakes (milepost 270) due to active burning and hazard trees that may fall on the roadway. WSDOT and NW Team 7 are making progress assessing and clearing these hazards today. There is no estimate for I-90’s reopening, but WSDOT will post any changes on their website and social media accounts promptly when they occur. State Hwy. 904 has reopened and is the primary detour route.
ADDITIONAL FIRE & EMERGENCY INFORMATION:
Gray Fire Information:
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/wanes-gray-fire Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newfireinfo
Washington Smoke Blog: https://wasmoke.blogspot.com/
Spokane County Emergency Management (Evacuations): https://www.facebook.com/GEGEmergencyMgt
Local Red Cross Support: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html
WA DOT Highway Updates: https://twitter.com/WSDOT_East or htps://wsdot.com/Travel/Real-time/Map/