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News / Northwest

Firefighters knock down blaze in Soap Lake as fire season continues statewide

By Joel Martin, Columbia Basin Herald
Published: September 20, 2023, 7:37am

SOAP LAKE — Grant County Fire District 7, with a little help from its friends, extinguished a 2-acre wildfire Monday night in Soap Lake, according to a statement from the fire district.

At about 10:45, GCFD 7 responded to a report of a structure fire at Division Street and SR 28, the statement said. When firefighters arrived, they found that no structures were actually burning, but a commercial building and multiple residences were threatened. Making matters worse were high winds, light fuels and a power pole brought down as a result of the fire.

Agencies involved included Grant County Fire District 7, Grant County Fire District 13, Ephrata Fire Department, Soap Lake Police, Ephrata Police, Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and Grant Public Utility District, the statement said.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but nearby residents noted that multiple fires had occurred last year at the same location and had been determined to be arson. No suspect was publicly identified in relation to those fires.

A wildfire sprang up Monday afternoon at Madame Dorian Park outside of Wallula between Kennewick and Walla Walla, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. It was 30% contained at 200 acres Tuesday afternoon. The cause was human activity.

Fire danger remains high over most of central and eastern Washington, according to the DNR, except in the southwest Washington Cascades and parts of Chelan and Okanogan counties, where fire danger was rated as extreme. Air quality was good throughout the Columbia Basin.

These fires were also burning Tuesday, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center:

  • Delabarre: This fire in Olympic National Park had more than doubled between Monday and Tuesday, from 1,500 acres to 3,554. Estimated costs had increased tenfold during the same time, to $5 million. It was uncontained Tuesday. The fire was discovered Sept. 1.
  • Low Divide: This fire in the Olympic National Forest was discovered Sept. 1 and had grown to 321 acres Tuesday. It was uncontained and costs were estimated at $125,000. The cause was determined to be natural.
  • Cowlitz Complex: This 30-fire complex in Gifford Pinchot National Forest was 34% contained Tuesday at 695 acres. The fires originated Aug. 25.
  • Diamond Mountain: This fire about 25 miles south of Port Angeles was discovered Sept. 1 and remained at 30 acres Tuesday. The cause was determined to be natural. It was uncontained and costs were estimated at $10,000.
  • Martin Lake: This fire in the Olympic National Forest was discovered Sept. 1 and was at 108 acres Tuesday. It was uncontained and costs were estimated at $50,000.
  • Eagle Point: Discovered Aug. 29 about 12 miles south of Port Angeles, this fire was still at 128 acres Tuesday. It was still uncontained and costs were estimated at $100,000.
  • Blue Lake: This blaze about 53 miles west of Omak was 80% contained Tuesday at 1,074 acres. Costs were estimated at $5.75 million. It was discovered July 29.
  • Eagle Bluff: This fire, southwest of Oroville near the Canadian border, has burned 16,428 acres. The fire has cost about $9.9 million and was fully contained Tuesday. The cause for the fire is unknown.
  • Sourdough: Burning in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area in the north Cascades since July 29, it was 25% contained Tuesday at 6,369 acres. Costs are estimated at $24 million.
  • Oregon Road: This fire discovered Aug. 18 about 31 miles north of Spokane was still 99% contained at 10,817 acres Tuesday. Costs are estimated at $14.2 million.
  • Salmo Basin: This fire, on the Canadian border 55 miles north of Newport, remained at 75 acres Tuesday. The blaze was discovered July 30. Containment information was not available. Costs are estimated at $500,000.
  • Dome Peak: This fire, located northeast of Mt. Baker National Forest, was still uncontained as of Tuesday and had spread to 1,477 acres. The fire was reported July 29. Costs were estimated at $100,000.
  • Lake Whatcom: Discovered Aug. 28 about 9 miles southeast of Bellingham, this fire was 100% contained at 40 acres Tuesday. Costs were estimated at $850,000.
  • Kindy Creek: Discovered Aug. 18 above Lake Chelan about 75 miles northwest of Wenatchee, this blaze had grown to 210 acres Tuesday. It was uncontained and costs were estimated at $90,000.
  • Airplane Lake: This blaze about 53 miles northwest of Wenatchee had grown to 6,677 acres Tuesday and costs are estimated at $500,000. It is reported as uncontained and no cause has been identified. It was discovered July 7.
  • Chocolate Creek: This blaze about 58 miles northwest of Wenatchee was still uncontained Tuesday, holding steady at 15 acres. Costs were estimated at $90,000.
  • Gray: Discovered Aug. 18 about 17 miles west of Spokane, it was still 99% contained at 10,085 acres Tuesday. The fire was determined to be caused by human activity and costs were estimated at $10.4 million.
  • Consalus Incident: Around 475 acres burned near the Idaho border due east of the Little Oreille National Wildlife Refuge. The fire has cost about $12 million and was 100% contained Tuesday. Authorities report that the cause of the fire is natural.

Several other fires are reported throughout the state but have burned less than 10 acres and are not included in this report. The majority are less than 1 acre.

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