County witnesses multiple major fires over weekend

The weather played a role as more wildfires wracked the area

Dry weather was a factor in some of the major fires that broke out over the weekend, destroying acres of woodlands near Pacific Beach and a house near Satsop.

Both local and state organizations responded, with the Department of Natural Resources assisting Grays Harbor Fire District 7 for the wildfire near Ocean City on Sunday.

Coastal wildfire

“(Monday) at about (4 p.m.) we were dispatched to a wildfire in the area of 2800 block of state Route 109,” said District 7 Chief Stephanie Selin. “DNR’s overhead was the initial unit on scene.”

The fire was about a mile off the road, Selin said, complicating the response.

“Grays Harbor Fire District 7 and DNR were dispatched initially. I requested Grays Harbor Fire District 6 and 8 respond for manpower and water support. DNR had a couple engines show up,” Selin said. “They’re still actively working on it.”

DNR’s rapid deployment of aerial assets and the departments on the ground’s rapid response helped hit the fire fast before it could get out of hand or require evacuations despite the remote location off the road, Selin said.

Selin said she left the scene, turning it over to DNR for mop-up, at about 9:46 p.m. Sunday evening, and that DNR is still on-scene, clearing up hot spots and investigating the possible cause.

District 7 has had a few wildfires as the dry weather raises risks across the county, Selin said. The burn ban is still in effect.

“We’ve had a couple out in the surrounding areas that we’ve been called for for mutual aid,” Selin said. “We had one in the dunes at the beginning of the month.”

Structure fire

Elsewhere in the county, East Grays Harbor Fire and Rescue, with assistance from other departments, confronted a structure fire early Saturday in Satsop that destroyed the house it started in.

“It came in at 3:39 a.m.,” new EGHFR Chief Kenny Ward said in a phone interview. “The call came in as smoke and fire became visible. When we arrived the front half of the house was fully involved.”

The eight residents and their dogs were evacuated without injury, though there were some smaller pets in cages that died in the fire, Ward said.

“We definitely could not make entry. The fire load in the house was high. The fire had spread so fast,” Ward said. “We couldn’t make an offensive attack, we were on the defense.”

The structure, a century-old wood-framed house, went up extremely fast, Ward said.

“The old wood frame, the fire spread quickly,” Ward said. “It ended up being a total loss.”

The cause of the fire is difficult to discern with the complete destruction of the property, Ward said, but it was possibly electrical.

“The origin was the front part. The cause is undetermined because it’s a total loss,” Ward said. “If you’re going to do any wiring in the home, we advise you have a licensed electrician do the work. That’s why we have codes and we have inspections.”

Ward also thanked departments who became involved due to mutual aid agreements. About 10-12 firefighters from multiple departments responded to the early-morning blaze.

”We want to thank District 1, 2, 12 and 13, and Monte for responding — we’re very appreciative of their response,” Ward said. “The Red Cross made an immediate response and assisted the family with relocation and assistance.”

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or