Tanker planes dropping water and fire retardant slowed the rapid advance of a blaze in Spokane.

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A determined effort by tanker planes dropping water and fire retardant slowed the rapid advance of a fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon, forcing evacuations and sending a plume over Spokane.

The fire, called the Rutter Canyon fire, was off Country Hills Lane and estimated at 120 acres at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Brian Schaeffer, assistant Spokane fire chief. It is north of Indian Trail and east of Nine Mile Falls.

“It was an incredibly fast-moving fire, and it’s still moving,” Schaeffer said.

Level 3 evacuations – the most urgent – were lifted Tuesday evening, and about 100 homes were under a Level 2 evacuation warning, which means people should be prepared to leave if necessary.

Rutter Parkway was closed between Indian Trail Road and Dorset Road.

“It’s a box canyon,” said Eric Keller, Department of Natural Resources spokesman. “We’re having difficulty getting crews in. It’s one way in and one way out, so it makes it very dangerous.”

The area burning is also fairly rugged, Schaeffer said.

“The terrain is horrible for people on foot,” he said.

Crews were arriving from all over Spokane and Kootenai counties to assist Spokane County Fire District 9 and the DNR.