Firefighters respond to Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge fire

The cause is a flicked cigarette butt

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A fire in the vicinity of the Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge consumed more than 40 acres Friday night. The cause of the fire was a discarded cigarette butt. Firefighters from several departments were dispatched at 4:58 p.m.

The Eastbound lane of state Route 14 and 32nd Street, in Washougal, was closed to through traffic Friday, as several fire departments responded to a grass and brush fire at the Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge.

Washougal police re-routed traffic to 32nd, as crews from the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, East County Fire and Rescue, Skamania Fire District 4 and the Vancouver Fire Department, arrived at the entrance to the refuge. The firefighters were dispatched at 4:58 p.m.

Three hours later, C-W Chief Nick Swinhart said the fire which had been spreading east and south fairly rapidly, consumed about 40 acres.

“We do not have a handle on it yet,” he said, by phone. “It is a very swampy area. We’re trying to keep it from the sewer treatment plant and the port industrial area.

“There are in the neighborhood of 15 engines, plus the Department of Natural Resources,” Swinhart added.

C-W Fire Marshal Randy Miller said from the site of the future Steigerwald Commerce Center, near the corner of South Truman and 37th Street, the cause of the fire was a flicked cigarette butt.

He has heard of other recent fires caused by cigarette butts, in nearby areas.

“The wind fans the flames,” Miller said. “Cigarette butts should not be flicked out the window.”