A thick cloud of smoke invaded Pullman on Thursday from a raging wildfire more than 100 miles north near Creston, Wash.
The blaze, which firefighters are calling the Apache Pass Fire, broke out Sunday at about 3:30 p.m. roughly 17 miles southwest of the town, situated 57 miles west of Spokane on Highway 2.
By late Thursday morning, the flames had grown to encompass roughly 25,000 acres of sage, grass and crops, said Pullman Fire Chief Scott LaVielle.
Officials evacuated homes in the area earlier this week, but they lifted those evacuation orders by Thursday, he said.
About 113 firefighters remained on scene and 40 percent of the fire has been contained as of Thursday morning, LaVielle said. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.
The growth of the flames slowed as winds continued to die down, he said. Investigators are still searching for the cause of the fire.
Mike Heston, a fire operations officer from the Pullman Fire Department, has been on scene since the beginning of the week to schedule operational shifts for others working on extinguishing the fire, LaVielle said.
He hopes to have Heston back soon, but he said it’s important to lend others a hand in times of need.
“We never know when we’re going to need help,” LaVielle said. “So, it’s always good to reciprocate and help people.”