South Beach firefighters honed their firefighting skills with a cabin burn on Jan. 11. SHARRYL BELL | WESTPORT FIRE

‘Burn to Learn’ at Western Shores Motel & RV Park

Volunteer firefighters from Westport, Ocosta and North Cove/Tokeland participated in two practice burns recently at the former Western Shores Motel & RV Park site on County Line Road in Grayland — directly across the street from the entrance to Grayland Beach State Park. The property includes a small motel building, six cabins and 30 RV spaces, some with abandoned trailers.

With instruction and guidance from Westport Fire Department training officer, Capt. Dave Bell, 18 to 20 firefighters learned about reading smoke, fire behavior and attack strategies. On Jan. 11, the group burned one of several cabins. Then, during a full day’s exercise on Jan. 22, the same number of volunteers burned the multi-unit motel structure and five other outbuildings on the property.

Washington State Parks purchased the property two years ago, with long-term plans to turn the site into the South Beach Area administration and maintenance center for all four local parks, including Westport Light (which now includes the former Westhaven State Park property), Bottle Beach, Twin Harbors and Grayland Beach.

According to Gary Vierra, South Beach area parks manager, current plans are to continue removing buildings and then crush and remove the several derelict trailers on the site, followed by fencing the property.

Site cleanup and fencing work is being financed by a $70,000 state Recreation and Conservation Office grant. Funding for infrastructure and construction of the administration center and maintenance facility is not expected to be available in the state budget until next year at the earliest.


On Jan. 22, firefighters torched the several unit motel building and five other structures. SHARRYL BELL | WESTPORT FIRE