Andrus Fire now 20% contained

Andrus Update

CHENEY, Wash. — It’s a turning point tonight for people evacuated from their homes as firefighters near Cheney now have the Andrus Fire 20 percent contained, and those families can return home.

All level 3 evacuations have been canceled. Officials say ground crews strengthened their containment lines around the fire, but the job is far from over, especially with the threat of lightning tomorrow.

While there is still a long way to completely knocking down the Andrus Fire, the word from fire officials this evening is they are in a much better place than just 24 hours ago.

At just around noon on Monday, smoked filled the skies and flames quickly burned through the forest as almost a dozen aircrafts worked to stop the spread of the flames. Now air has cleared up substantially, signaling good news for everyone.

“Obviously when it’s raging through certain areas it’s very difficult to get through some of the steeper terrains,” said Public Information Officer Don Malone. “Today with the lower fire levels we’re able to get into those steeper terrains a little bit easier. This fire we have fields, we have rolling hills, we have steep terrain and some valleys.”

Crews from all across the state have been called on to help battle the fire. The quick mobilization from numerous agencies are being credited with stopping the progress of the flames quickly.

However, the threat of lightning tomorrow does present some the threat of even more fires sparking in the area, and could add more stress to those on the ground.

“I think on an event like this we’re worried no matter what, so especially in the first couple of days of an event so we’re really trying to strengthen things overnight,” said Malone. “We have crews again out there on the fire line tonight and they’re working the hot spots gridding the fire, looking for additional hot spots, seeing if we can get most of that knocked down overnight.”

All of the personnel and resources involved are committed to fighting the Andrus Fire, but if there were to be another wildfire that started somewhere within the region, officials would look and assess the different resources they have that they could possibly spare and then go from there.

UPDATE: Andrus Fire 100 percent contained, all evacuations lifted