Wildfire causes ‘Be Ready’ order near Washougal

Crews have fully contained wildfire off Washougal River Road; county expands burn ban

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Fire crews work the Washougal River Road fire just past mile marker 5 near Washougal on Tuesday, Sept. 8. By Wednesday, Sept. 9, the fire was 100-percent contained. (Alisha Jucevic courtesy of The Columbian)

A 10-acre fire burning near Washougal River Road mile marker 5 on Tuesday, Sept. 8, sparked a Level 1 “Be Ready” warning for residents in about 60 homes between Paradise Road and Northeast Rosemary Drive.

Clark County Emergency Services Agency officials asked residents in the area to prepare for a possible evacuation in case winds caused fire conditions to change rapidly, but firefighting crews with the Department of Natural Resources and East County Fire and Rescue had the Washougal-area fire 100-percent contained by Tuesday evening.

Taylor Mizar, public information officer for DNR’s Pacific Cascade Region, said residents in a home closest to the fire evacuated voluntarily.

High-wind conditions on Tuesday, which also contributed to several wildfires in eastern Washington and Northwest Oregon, as well as a fire near Vancouver Lake, meant crews could not use air resources to suppress the Washougal River Road fire, Mizar said.

The cause of the Washougal River Road fire is still under investigation.

In Vancouver, the Fruit Valley Fire, located on private property near Vancouver Lake, burned 166 acres and threatened multiple nearby structures Tuesday afternoon.

DNR and Vancouver Fire Department crews, had the Fruit Valley Fire 95-percent contained by this newspaper’s print deadline.

The cause of that fire, which burned parts of the Shillapoo Wildlife Area, is under investigation.

Clark County expands burn ban

Clark County expanded a burn ban Tuesday to include recreational areas and protected DNR lands, due to “extreme fire danger.”

The recreational fire restriction is in addition to the general outdoor burning prohibition implemented July 15.

“The ongoing hot, dry weather has us concerned with how easy it is for a fire to be ignited by an escaped ember from a recreational fire. A small campfire can accidentally spread to adjacent properties very easily with our current dry conditions,” said Interim Fire Marshal Dan Young.

The ban does not apply to self-contained camp stoves.

The weather forecast is calling for temperatures in the 80s and 90s to continue throughout the next week, with no rain predicted.

County officials said the recreational burn ban will be in place “until sufficient rainfall occurs to lower the risk.”

Young recommends the following measures in both rural and urban areas to help protect homes from the risk of fire:

• Remove fuel within 3 to 5 feet of foundations, outbuildings, garages and sheds; within 10 feet of a house; under decks and porches; and from gutters, eaves, porches and decks.

• Cut the lawn if it is brown. Dispose of debris and cuttings.

• Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet above the ground.

• Landscape with native and flame-resistant plants.