Crews continuing to battle Grand Coulee and Elmer City fires - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Crews continuing to battle Grand Coulee and Elmer City fires

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GRAND COULEE, Wash. -

Two fires burning on both sides of the Columbia River broke out Sunday and crews are working around the clock to contain them. Evacuation orders are at level one for one of the fires, but that could change so people in the area are on alert.

One fire called the 230 Switch Yard fire is burning in Grant County. That one is 75 percent contained and is burning about 207 acres at last report. The other fire, called the Elmer City fire, is burning 5,500 acres and has burned down one out building. Level one evacuation orders are in place. Thankfully, there is no threat to homeowners at this time. No injuries have been reported. No word yet as to what started these fires.

School was canceled on Monday as crews dealt with restoring power in the city.

Fire crews are closely monitoring winds in the area.

"Sure enough it was a few hundred yards from my house," said Steven Henke, a homeowner in Elmer City. Henke saw both of the fires Sunday night. The Elmer city fire was close to his home, while the 230 Switch Yard fire was just a few miles away, burning near where his mother lives. "The fire lines going down the hill, up the hill, left, right, the fire was burning in every direction up on the hill right by the switch yard," said Henke.

He says he's not worried about the fires, even though one was very close to his home. He just says you need to stay vigilant. "You just got to be careful and keep an eye on it. There's always a possibility things can go really badly really quickly," said Henke.  

The Grand Coulee Dam school district announced that school will go back in session on Tuesday. Their internet is still down but some of their phone lines are working.

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