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Wildfires force evacuations in Spokane, Columbia River Gorge

Video by Spokane Valley Firefighters

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A small but fast-moving wildfire in Spokane prompted temporary evacuation notices for more than 700 homes, authorities said Tuesday. The mandatory evacuations were lifted Tuesday night.

The so-called Upriver Beacon Fire, which was less than 1 square mile, broke out near a residential area.

Several homes caught fire, according to Spokane Valley Fire Department spokeswoman Melanie Rose. State officials said at least one structure had been destroyed.

Smoke from the Upriver Beacon Fire in the Spokane area.
(Photo: Spokane Valley Firefighters)

Susanna Lavrov, 26, was at home in the area when two people called her and said there was smoke nearby.

"I went outside and it was like, 'Oh my.' It's horrible," she told the Spokesman-Review. "I could see the flames from my house."

She grabbed her three kids and fled but said she wanted to get back home because she was worried about her goats and chickens.

Red Cross Northwest officials opened a shelter for evacuees at Bowdish Middle School in Spokane Valley.

In the Columbia River Gorge near The Dalles, Oregon, a rapidly advancing grass fire that started Tuesday afternoon prompted mandatory evacuation orders for dozens of area residents Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. Forestry Service Columbia River Gorge officials said the fire had burned up to 3 square miles (7.8 sq. kilometers).

Multiple TV stations that sent helicopters to the area showed footage of what appeared to be a home and other structures burning. A shelter for evacuees was opened at The Dalles Middle School.

Also on Tuesday, several businesses, homes and an assisted living facility were evacuated in Central Point, Oregon, near Medford because of a wildfire.

Medford Police said the fire spread quickly through dry brush in a field behind a Costco store and toward the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport.

The fire caused property damage but no injuries were reported and the flames were stopped before reaching the airport, police said.