East Pierce Fire and Rescue responded to four fires during the past week – three in Bonney Lake and a fourth across the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington.
The first fire was on Tuesday, July 26, at the 110000 block of 199th Avenue East in Bonney Lake.
According to the department, a neighbor reported the fire at 12:30 a.m. When firefighters arrived, a single-story home was fully engulfed.
The two residents of the home escaped the fire before seven fire engines and two medic units from East Pierce arrived at the scene, along with fire crews from Orting Valley Fire and Rescue and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue.
The second fire occurred across the street from Maris Farms on the 24600 block of Sumner-Buckley Highway on Wednesday, July 27.
Officials say the fire burned about an acre of grassland before East Pierce, Enumclaw and Buckley fire crews got it under control. The fire was reported around 4 p.m. and was contained an hour later.
East Pierce crews were called again Saturday, July 30, to a grass fire in the 8200 block of 205th Ave. East in Bonney Lake.
The fire was seen by a passerby around 12:30 p.m. The passerby alerted the three residents to the fire and they left the house.
By the time East Pierce arrived with four engines, a ladder truck and two medic units, the grass fire had reached the two-story home and extended into the attic, causing extensive damage, a department release stated.
Two East Pierce firefighters on a brush truck were called to assist with a fourth fire, called the South Gap Fire, in Prosser in Benton County around 10 p.m. Sunday, July 31.
Some Prosser residents in the Ward Gap area were warned about possible dangers as the 1,000-acre fire threatened to reach their homes, the Tri-City Herald reported. However, as of Monday morning firefighters were gaining control and the evacuation warning was lifted.
East Pierce Fire Chief Bud Backer said in an interview that things have been quite for a while and the number of fires his crews are responding to isn’t unusual.
Backer added a short warning: “People right now feel like we are having a cool or damp summer, but things are drying out right now and it doesn’t take much to start a grass fire.”
In the midst of these fires, the state’s Department of Natural Resources as expanded its burn ban from just eastern Washington to statewide July 28.
The burn ban is expected to be in effect through Sept. 30 and means all outdoor burning is prohibited in forestlands protected by the department.
Recreational fires in designated fire pits are still allowed.
According to the DNR, the state has seen 408 wildfires this year.