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Sunday,  July 14 , 2024

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News / Northwest

Wildfire near Coulee City closes highway

By Joel Martin, Columbia Basin Herald
Published: July 10, 2024, 7:55am

COULEE CITY — A fire near Coulee City closed down State Route 17 briefly Sunday.

The Haynes Canyon Fire was reported about 6 p.m. along SR 17, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office initially estimated the fire at 6 acres, but it ended up being 3.2 acres, according to Grant County Fire District 7 Chief Chris Baker.

“It was relatively flat, but because of drainage … within that particular piece of land, there’s lots of hidden holes and drainage to where we couldn’t get our fire engines all the way around the fire,” Baker said. “We had to access from different points in order to get a wet line around it. “

Because of the light wind, firefighters were concerned about the fire crossing the highway, Baker said, so he asked the Washington State Patrol to close down the road. It reopened at about 6:35, according to GCSO.

The fire was technically in the jurisdiction of the Coulee City Fire Department, Baker explained, but GCFD 7 responded first because of the risk of it spreading into their territory.

A brush fire Saturday at the Gorge Amphitheatre caused the concert that was going on to be canceled partway through, according to a statement from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. The fire was caused by fireworks detonated legally by professional pyrotechnicians as part of the show electronic dance music duo Odesza. Gorge staff put out the fire and no injuries were reported.

A small fire also came into play at The Gorge amphitheater after pyrotechnics during a show there caused a small blaze, according to GCSO. Staff from the venue were able to put the fire out. There were no injuries and only a small area next to the venue was burned.

The 840-acre Road 11 Fire burning about 12 miles southwest of Mansfield was fully contained Monday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Costs were estimated at $209,000.

The Pioneer Fire on the eastern shore of Lake Chelan was still 14% contained Monday and grew over the weekend to 9,055 acres, according to the NIFC. The cause was undetermined, and suppression costs were estimated at $35 million.

These other fires were also burning in Washington on Tuesday, according to the NIFC:

  • The 1980 Slide Ranch Fire, discovered June 22 about 20 miles southwest of Yakima, was 97% contained Monday and had grown to 3,166 acres. The fire was human-caused, and costs were estimated at $4 million.
  • The Daisy Fire, discovered July 4 on Lake Roosevelt about 47 miles northeast of Grand Coulee, was at 10.3 acres Monday. The reported cause was human activity. Containment and cost information was not available.
  • The Diamondback Ridge Fire, near Zillah in the Yakima Valley, had burned 300 acres since its discovery May 17. Cost and containment information was not available Monday.
  • The Gold Creek Fire, discovered June 22 in the Methow Valley about 31 miles southwest of Omak, was fully contained at 278 acres Monday. Costs were estimated at $1.7 million. The cause of the blaze was undetermined.
  • The Middle Mountain Fire about 34 miles northeast of Grand Coulee was discovered July 4 and was uncontained at 14 acres Monday. Costs were estimated at $3 million.
  • The Mutual Aid 20151 Fire, discovered June 27 just a few miles southwest of Clarkston, was at 50 acres Monday. Cost and containment information was not yet available.
  • The Sand Flat Fire about 2 miles northeast of Omak was discovered Thursday afternoon and held steady at 120 acres Monday. The cause was undetermined.
  • The Seven Dairy Spring Fire, discovered June 30 in Lincoln County about 20 miles northeast of Odessa, remained at 28.3 acres Monday. The cause had been determined to be natural. Cost and containment information was not available.

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

Air quality was good in most of the Columbia Basin on Monday, according to the website AirNow, which is operated by a consortium of government agencies. The Air Quality Index, or AQI, was moderate in the Quincy/George area and Banks Lake up to and beyond Grand Coulee. The air was deemed unhealthy for sensitive groups in the area around Lake Chelan.