400 fire personnel unite to extinguish 243 Fire, winds ‘cooperate’ overnight
GRANT COUNTY, Wash. — Crews across Washington state are banding together to extinguish the 243 Fire, which exploded in size since igniting on Monday night. Officials say the fire has burned at least 15,000 acres and is 25 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team, which has taken the role of lead agency in the attack against the fire, about 400 firefighting personnel are assigned to the 243 fire. The challenges they have faced include steep terrain and gusty winds.
Ben Shearer of the Pasco Fire Department is one firefighter who is providing assistance in Grant County during the blaze. Shearer tells KAPP/KVEW that they are going to start “cleaning up this fire today and tomorrow.” He tells us that the wind was more cooperative overnight, and that firefighters expressed more optimism on Wednesday morning.
While a significant amount of land has been burned, as well as some outhouses, no homes have burned down.
As of a most recent update, current road closures still include Beverly Burke Road between SR26 and SR243, as well as Lower Crab Creek Road from SR243 to SR26.
A Red Cross evacuation center is available for residents and their animals who are displaced. Families can find shelter at the Royal City Intermediate School. The Grant County Fairgrounds is available for livestock, and while they do have bedding and water, they do not have feed.
The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources are restricting recreational use on public lands surrounding the fire.
On Tuesday night, the state Department of Natural Resources said the fire had burned more than 18,500 acres.