A wildfire that started Sunday near Mattawa in Grant County has burned roughly 7,800 acres of grass and sagebrush, created whirlwinds of smoke and prompted home evacuations.
The Powerline Fire has threatened homes, farms, livestock and electrical and communications infrastructure as winds have pushed flames east through steep, largely inaccessible terrain, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
No structures have been damaged or lost, and no injuries from the fire have been reported.
State and federal resources were mobilized to fight the fire, which was 50% contained Monday evening, in part thanks to overcast skies, light precipitation and calm winds.
“The weather today has been very helpful to the crews, said Nancy Jones, a spokeswoman for the Southeast Washington Type III Interagency Management Team. “It’s been a really productive day.”
Jones said about 250 personnel were assigned to the fire Monday evening, including crews from the state Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation. Many were digging containment lines and monitoring burned areas for lingering hot spots.
Level 2 evacuation orders – meaning “get ready to leave” – remained in place for some residents. An emergency shelter was established at Wahluke High School in Mattawa.
Jones declined to speculate on when the fire might be completely extinguished but said crews would continue working through Monday night.
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