Grass Valley Fire burns in Douglas, Grant counties

MANSFIELD — The Grass Valley Fire burning in Douglas County and parts of Grant County was 40 percent contained as of Monday evening, Aug. 13, according to information provided by the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team.

The fire started just after 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 11, near the intersection of Highways 17 and 172 by Sims Corner, about 12 miles east of Mansfield. As of Monday evening, it had burned nearly 75,000 acres in grass, brush and timber and threatened homes, infrastructure and crops. SE Incident Management Team members were working with landowners to locate and account for livestock and possible structure damage or loss.

Initially crews from Douglas County Fire Districts 3 and 5, Grant County Fire District 14, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Natural Resources and Okanogan Fire District 8 were on the scene.

The fire quickly grew in size from 1,000 acres reported on Saturday due to dry conditions and high winds.

SE Incident Management Team resources were requested by the incident commander Saturday afternoon. The team arrived Saturday evening to assume command. Additional fire line resources were also ordered. Evacuation notices were in effect and the Red Cross opened a shelter at Wilbur High School.

One injury was reported Saturday. Okanogan County Fire District 8 firefighter Brett Read, 38, of the Omak area, was injured when he and another firefighter were attempting to leave their work area when the fire unexpectedly intensified. Read became separated from the engine he was working on and suffered burns during the incident, according to District 8 Chief Ed Townsend. The second firefighter on Read’s engine was not injured.

Read was transported to Coulee Medical Center in Grand Coulee and later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was reported in satisfactory condition as of Sunday evening, July 12.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, said Townsend.

Information on the Grass Valley Fire continues to be available on the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team’s Facebook page.

— From The Wenatchee World and other sources