WA, USA — Fire crews were on the scene of a grass fire near Taylor Lakes foralmost six hours Wednesday afternoon and night, but it may be some time beforethe fire is completely out.
The grass fire was reported at 4:30 p.m. and the last crews left at 10:30. Thefire burned about five acres and did no damage, but a portion of the fire wentacross a road and burned over the former Mt. Fir Chip Mill Site. That millburned in 2002.
The grass fire ignited the ground fill on the site, which consists of discardedwood chips. Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue Division Chief Dan Hammel said in anews release the fire went underground and could continue to burn in those chipsfor several days or even weeks.
He said fire crews will continue to monitor the fire over the next few days. Hesaid the property owner will be responsible to keep water on the site to makesure the fire does not flare up again.
The press release said initial witnesses to the fire said the fire went fromapproximately 50 feet in diameter and exploded to several hundred feet whenswept by the wind. He said this fire is an example of how rapidly fires growwith the current ground fuel moisture and typical winds experienced in theGorge. (See related story on burning bangoing into effect on July 1.)
The fire itself was brought under control rather quickly but most of the timewas spent working in the area when the chips were burning.
Hammel said the cause of the fire has not been determined but the source wherethe fire started has been identified.
MCF&R was assisted at the scene of the second alarm fire by crews fromDallesport and the Oregon Department of Forestry. Fire crews from the USFSScenic Area were initially dispatched to this fire, but had to be diverted toanother reported fire near Wishram.
Hammel said the USFS crews apparently were able to stop that fire fairly quicklyas they passed back through the area before crews were released from the TaylorLakes Fire. Dallesport also sent rigs to the Wishram area fire.