Large brush fire in East County draws major response

Responders were called to a couple of smoke and fire investigations that turned out to be one big brush fire over the weekend. Brian Baldwin, information officer for Grays Harbor Fire District 5 said in a press release that at 4:38 pm Sunday afternoon District 5 was called to the report of smoke seen from the Monte-Elma Road and Moore Road. At the same time, a brush fire was also reported on Stephens Road. Responders reported a large plume of smoke could be seen from a distance as they approached the area.

Grays Harbor Fire District 5 crews responded to the Stephens Road location and Grays Harbor Fire District 2 was requested for mutual aid to investigate the Moore Road Smoke report. The two calls were later linked as one fire that spanned from a starting point near Stephens Road and spanned approximately 40 acres between the starting point to logging roads with access points on Moore Road.

Baldwin said that residents along Moore Road were put on notice to keep watch for the fire, and that they could be told to evacuate with assistance from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department.

Almost 3 hours later, at 7:27 p.m. Sunday, crews had a good portion of the fire knocked down at the original starting point near Stephens Road, however, the fire burning towards Moore Road was still active in dense brush and trees.

By 9:30 p.m. crews from Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) were working alongside the regional wild land strike force.

Four DNR hand crews, two crews from the regional strike team, and one DNR engine remained on the scene overnight to get the rest of the fire contained and out. Weyerhaeuser had requested 2 bulldozers and other equipment to also assist in containment.

Just before midnight, Washington State DNR took over full command of the incident and all regional fire teams were cleared with exception of a brush unit from Fire District 5 remaining on scene to assist.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Baldwin said responders from Grays Harbor Fire District 5, Elma Fire, Fire District 2, Fire District 1, Fire District 12, and Montesano Fire all responded to assist in getting this fire under control.

“We are seeing that with the cooler temperature and rise in humidity that the fire has started to lower and expect it to lay low overnight,” said Baldwin, adding a thank you to those who responded.

Grays Harbor Fire District 5 praised all the different agencies that responded to assist adding that it was achallenge due to the span of the incident in the distance the fire traveled so quickly and the dry weather.

Photo by Brian Baldwin GHFD5 PIO 
Smoke visible in the distance.

Photo by Brian Baldwin GHFD5 PIO Smoke visible in the distance.