East County Fire chief helps fight giant blaze

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East County Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Koehler was called into action this week to lead the fight against a 4,500-acre grass and brush fire in rural Walla Walla County.

Koehler served as a planning section chief tasked with devising a course of action to extinguish a fire raging south of Wallula.

More than 180 firefighters and 20 fire trucks from several counties were needed to extinguish the massive brush fire this week. No homes were threatened by the fire.

Koehler assisted in the operation in accordance with his membership on a statewide instant management firefighting team. He was in Walla Walla County fighting the fire from Monday afternoon to Wednesday evening.

The state of Washington pays for firefighters’ participation in extinguishing large fires.

Five members of the District No. 13 Communications Unit based out of Yacolt also responded to the Walla Walla County blaze, Koehler said.