July 29, 2005 in City

Thousands of acres burned in brush fire

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A brush fire consumed thousands of acres of land Thursday in Lincoln County, browning the sky and forcing a few evacuations, but burning only a small trailer and a couple of outbuildings, said Rod Heimbigner of the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire started at a camp site on private land along Wall Lake, about 15 miles southwest of Davenport, Wash., on Wednesday morning, said Craig Moeller, assistant fire chief of Lincoln County Fire District 6. Crews initially had the fire under control by nightfall Wednesday but were called back about 10 a.m. Thursday when it flared up.

Estimates of the fire’s size were rough Thursday night but Heimbigner said about four square miles of the sparsely populated area had been charred.

“We’re way past hundreds of acres,” Moeller said. “Way past.”

The blaze was on BLM and private land, some of which is used for cattle grazing. Moeller said cattle have been moved from fire-threatened area, and none was lost.

Watching the fire burn from a safe distance, John Sandygren was pretty sure the fire had scorched some of his property. He leases his acreage to another man who grazes cattle.

Sandygren said in recent years less of the surrounding land has had cattle.

“A lot isn’t grazed so there’s a lot of fuel,” Sandygren said. “So it was just a matter of time before this area would burn.”

About 80 firefighters were at the scene late Thursday, with more expected to arrive today, including crews from the state Fire Protection Bureau, who were mobilized by Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste at 7:45 p.m. Thursday, the WSP said. The state mobilization is expected to bring another 77 firefighters and 25 engines to the scene.

Firefighters reported temperatures near 100 degrees, along with light winds, and low humidity, the WSP said.

One BLM firefighter broke his leg at the scene Thursday but no other injuries were reported.


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