Crews on the Batterman fire outside Rock Island burned grass and sage Monday along Rock Island Grade in hopes of stopping the almost 8,000-acre fire from pushing farther east.
The fire in Douglas County was first reported at 12:15 p.m. Sunday roughly a mile northeast of Pangborn Memorial Airport in the area of Grant Road and South Ward Street. The cause is unknown.
Driven by winds, the fire spread by Sunday evening into Rock Island Grade, a canyon between Rock Island and the Palisades. 80 structures are threatened, but none have been damaged.
The fire is estimated at 7,900 acres and 10% contained as of Monday evening, according to a news release from the Southeast Washington Incident Management Team. The team took command of the fire late Sunday or early Monday.
Rock Island Grade Road and the north side of Batterman Road are under a Level 3 evacuation notice — get out now; Indian Camp Road is under a Level 2 notice — be ready to leave; and the Palisades is under a Level 1 notice — be aware.
There are 177 people assigned to the fire, 36 engines, three hand crews, six dozers and two helicopters. Multiple air tankers and scoop planes have also dropped water and retardant on the fire.
Dozers and firefighters spent Monday building containment lines and conducted a burnout operation — burning dry vegetation to stop the active fire from growing — to help hold the eastern perimeter at Rock Island Grade, the release said.
The fire is most active in the Rock Island Creek Drainage and Beaver Creek Drainage. The two creeks merge about four miles northeast of Rock Island.
Winds Monday afternoon were blowing from the northwest at 11 to 14 mph with gusts of 24 mph, the release said.
Winds on Tuesday are forecasted at 5-8 mph from the northwest and highs are forecasted at 101 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
The weather could be more problematic Wednesday.
The weather service is forecasting a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday morning followed by afternoon gusts up to 24 mph and then evening gusts up to 32 mph.