The fire near Fruit Valley Road was the largest of dozens area fire crews battled on Tuesday
VANCOUVER — High winds and dry conditions kept fire crews in Clark County busy on Tuesday, responding to numerous grass and brush fires.
The largest was a 166 acre blaze that started just after 2:30 p.m. in brush behind the Frito Lay plant on NW Fruit Valley Road near La Frembois Road.
At the time the fire was dispatched, Vancouver Fire crews were already working to contain a fire along the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, as well as several other incidents. They arrived at the Fruit Valley Road fire within six minutes.
Vancouver Police shut down access from Fourth Plain Blvd to Vancouver Lake Regional Park and Frenchman’s Bar Park, and assisted with evacuating people who were in the parks at the time of the fire.
Other crews with Clark County Fire District 6, Camas Washougal Fire Department, Clark County Fire and Rescue, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also responded to assist, including the use of a helicopter to drop water on hot spots.
No one was injured, and no buildings were lost or damaged in the fire.
A total of 16 units and 34 personnel were able to get the blaze 95 percent contained by 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening, and DNR has taken over management of the fire.
Other fires keep crews busy
Dozens of other fires around the area have kept crews busy, including a wildland fire along Washougal River Road near the Skamania County line that has had up to 60 people on a Level 1 standby for evacuation. That fire was reported to be 10 acres in size and 20 percent contained on Tuesday morning, according to DNR officials.
Brief evacuations sparked by a fire near Fargher Lake along Wiehl Road in North Clark County were lifted early Tuesday morning after the six acre fire was declared mostly contained.
Another brief fire drew plenty of attention Tuesday evening along SR-14 east of I-205, but Vancouver Fire crews were able to quickly get the flames under control by 6:30 p.m.
A red flag warning for extreme fire danger was posted by the National Weather Service in Portland through 9 p.m. on Wednesday with hot and breezy conditions expected to continue. The winds are forecast to taper off Wednesday afternoon, but hot and dry conditions will remain at least through the weekend.
Clark County, Battle Ground, and the city of Vancouver have each declared emergency burn bans for all recreational fires, including campfires and open cooking pits. Propane or charcoal grills for barbecuing are still allowed, but people are urged to use extreme caution.
Air quality a concern
With winds shifting to the Northeast, smoke from massive fires east of Salem were expected to roll back over the metro area overnight. Air quality was good in most of Clark County, outside of the northern areas of Amboy, La Center, and Woodland, where smoke from a fire near Swift Reservoir continued to blow into the area.