Serving Franklin County, WA

Fire sweeps south of Lind

Several fires burning through parts of Eastern Washington

LIND - A series of fires broke out last week across Eastern Washington, including a blaze that destroyed several homes and outbuildings in rural Adams County and the Lind area on Thursday, Aug. 4.

While the fast-burning blaze was short-lived, it destroyed six homes and multiple outbuildings, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said Friday, noting it had been declared as a disaster.

With the declaration, the federal Disaster Relief Fund can be used to help cover firefighting costs. In addition, more than $1 million may also be made available through the state's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to cover additional fire-related and recovery costs.

Driven by gusty winds, the fire roared to life at about 11:45 a.m. Thursday, officials said. The state Department of Transportation closed U.S. Highway 395, state Highway 21 and Paha-Packard Road.

Adams County Fire District No. 2 Chief Kevin Starring requested and received state help about 1:15 p.m.

At the height of the fire, at least two fixed-wing aircraft and one helitack team were assisting with controlling the fire.

Later that day, emergency management officials issued a Level III evacuation notice for Lind and suggested residents leave town and go to Ritzville Grade School, set up as an evacuation shelter.

By 10 p.m. Thursday evening, the winds had subsided and the fire was mostly subdued, with fire crews mopping up hotspots.

Residents who had voluntarily evacuated to Ritzville Grade School were given the all-clear to return home. Evacuations are voluntary under state law and residents cannot be ordered to leave.

Officials said six homes and additional outbuildings had been destroyed.

On Friday, utility crews were busy replacing burned power poles.

A map of the fire shows the blaze was contained to the area between East Presnel Road to the south and state Highway 21 to the north.

The blaze was one of several racing through dry grasses and sagebrush east of the Cascades. Fires were also burning near Cheney, Ellensburg, Vantage and Dusty.

Locally, one fireman was injured and airlifted to Spokane, officials said.

Sheriff Dale Wagner credited residents, volunteers and others for preventing further injury and damages.

"This was a huge effort by all entities," he said. "Great work by our volunteers, in so many aspects from fire, Red Cross, local businesses, individuals and many others."

He also credited emergency dispatchers for helping residents calling in for assistance.

The wind-driven flames advanced on Lind with nearby fire crews also fighting fires in the Williams Lake area between Cheney and Ewan.

Another fire was also burning near Vantage.

Two additional fires also blew up - the Riparia Fire along state Highway 127 south of Dusty and the Cow Canyon Fire near Ellensburg.

As of Monday, Aug. 8, the Northwest Interagency Fire Center was reporting the Williams Lake Fire was an estimated 1,868 acres and Cow Canyon an estimated 5,746 acres.

The largest fire burning in the state is the Vantage Highway Fire at an estimated 32,284 acres.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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