The state’s first big wildfire of the year in Grant County was mostly contained Friday night, and the final response to the fire will be handed off to a small team Saturday.
The fire, which started Monday night, burned 20,380 acres and was 85% contained Friday night, according to a statement from the incident command team responding to the fire. At the height of response, about 350 people worked to put out the fire.
Some fire crews have already left, but all will be gone by Saturday morning, when two crews of about 40 or 50 people total will take over response, said fire spokesman Michael Krueger. They will have two engines and heavy equipment.
“They will be there until they’re sure things are pretty much in control, and then it will revert back to the local fire units,” Krueger said. “This fire is really no longer a fire. There’s no flames, for the most part.”
The fire, which is being called the 243 fire, won’t be considered 100% contained until the next heavy rain, he said. Until then, crews will monitor the remaining small spots of heat that have the potential to ignite material around it. The incoming team will continue to “mop up” the fire Saturday, creating a wide ring around the area where the fire burned by removing any burnable material.
The cause of the fire, which led around 25 households to evacuate, is still under investigation. All evacuations and road closures have been canceled. Some outbuildings were lost but no residences.
Wildfire season has been starting earlier in Washington state, and officials expect a busy one this year.