Crews contain grass fires along Clark County freeways

By Marissa Harshman and Paul Suarez

Published:

Updated: August 22, 2011, 7:32 PM

 

Firefighters from Vancouver Fire Department, Fire District 6 and Clark County Fire and Rescue battled a chain of grass fires along local freeways Monday afternoon.

Three grass fires were sparked along the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 in a stretch of the freeway north of Northeast 134th Street, according to Fire District 6 Chief Jerry Green. All three fires were reported around 1:10 p.m., said Dawn Johnson, Fire District 6 spokeswoman. They were contained within an hour.

The first fire along I-5 was at about 134th Street; the second at roughly 147th Street. The third fire was at about 150th Street. The fires never merged, Johnson said.

The three blazes burned a total of about 2.5 acres of grass and scorched a few trees, she said.

Traffic was slowed considerably through the area as the firefighters worked.

Fire District 6 called in the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to assist fire crews with mop-up efforts, Johnson said.

Washington State Patrol believes the fires may have been caused by a semi-truck dragging a heavy chain, Green said. However, none of the callers reporting the fires to dispatchers provided any information about a possible cause, Johnson said.

The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office was called to assist with determining the cause, she said.

The fires slowed traffic and caused backups near the junction of I-5 and Interstate 205. The delays lasted for a few hours, Johnson said.

At nearly the same time, the Vancouver Fire Department contained a grass fire along I-205 north of Padden Parkway and another fire on Padden Parkway between I-205 and Northeast 94th Avenue.

A series of grass fires sparking along a road isn’t too uncommon; a similar rash of fires hit Clark County three years ago or so, Green said.