‘All it would take is one ember’: Weather threatens firefighters’ work on Andrus Road Fire

SPOKANE CO., Wash. — Crews continue to make progress on the Andrus Road Fire near Cheney, but changes in the weather could set them back.

As of Wednesday afternoon, people are still under evacuation orders. That could change later Wednesday night depending on how fast firefighters work.

The wind, some lightning, that’s the perfect storm for the Andrus fire to get going again.

It’s been a busy couple of days for firefighters trying to contain the fire. As of Wednesday afternoon, agencies say the Andrus Fire is 20 percent contained.

All day, crews kept track of the weather to make sure they know what’s coming.

“We monitor the lightning map and we look where those storms go through and we try to preposition resources. But, it also creates an increase potential for additional starts on top of the hot temps, low humidities and tough conditions. We’re already dealing with the extended drought,” said Cody Rohrbach, the fire chief of Spokane County Fire District 3.

More crews came in from across the state overnight, coming from Clark County and Department of Natural Resources from the west side of the state.

While they’re helping relieve crews from long days, they’re also ready in case more fires spark up around the area because of the weather.

“We still have a red flag warning up and we still have potential for some wind today. Everybody needs to stay alert, whether you’re next to the Andrus Fire or not. We’re in high fire danger right now,” said Jeff Sevigney, the information officer for the Northeast Washington Incident Management Team.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Level 2 evacuations are in place for those living near Andrus Fire

Wildfire season started earlier this year, the conditions we’re seeing now, Rohrbach says it’s about six to eight weeks earlier than normal because of the drought.

Now, all they can do is be diligent, wait and keep an eye on the smoke.

“All it would take is one ember to land in a receptive fuel bed and we could be back to fighting fire,” he said.

If all goes according to plan, the fire will be handed back over to local agencies by the end of this week.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘Okay, this is when I should panic’; Woman living near Andrus Fire prepared for the worst

RELATED: ‘You never really get used to it’; How to prepare your home for wildfire season