A grass fire ripped up a hillside beside Interstate 205 on Tuesday evening in Cascade Park, threatening stores just south of the Fred Meyer at Mill Plain Boulevard and Chkalov Drive.
“It burned up the whole hill,” said Capt. Scott Willis of the Vancouver Fire Department.
He said the fire spread from the freeway “50 to 75 feet up the hill, and the whole fire was probably 300 to 400 feet long.” It reached the fence behind the stores, at the top of the bank, Willis said.
Witnesses said the fire might have been started by sparks from a northbound car on I-205.
The blaze started at 6:14 p.m. and was under control about 6:55 p.m.
“It created a lot of smoke,” Willis said, noting there were many calls to 911 and traffic was diverted in the area. He said the grass was about 18 inches high.
Willis said firefighters responding discovered a second, smaller grass fire at Interstate 205 and state Highway 14.
The right lane of I-205 northbound was briefly closed, as was Chkalov from 10th to Seventh streets. Westbound traffic at McGillivray Boulevard also was diverted.
Willis said 18 firefighters with five engines and a water tender fought the two grass fires. No one was hurt.
Willis said fire season is here. “This is the time of year that we want to remind people that if they are smokers, and driving, to not flick them out the window. It doesn’t take much,” he said.