VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — About 35 firefighters battled a 2-acre brush fire that forced the evacuations of a dozen homes near the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail in Vancouver Monday afternoon.
Witnesses called 911 around 2:15 p.m. to report flames up to 10 feet tall burning through thick vegetation, the Vancouver Fire Department said.
Fire crews attacked the blaze from above and below, dealing with the vegetation, steep terrain, 20 mph winds and high voltage overhead lines.
Fire crews asked for help from the Department of Natural Resources for a helicopter to drop water. However, that helicopter was diverted to another brush fire on NE 56th Way, which quickly doused that fire.
An all-clear was issued at 5:09 p.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Residents who spoke with KOIN 6 News were grateful for the fast response,
“Within 5 minutes they showed up and were getting people to evacuate,” Dan said. “And it kind of emphasizes the importance of having an evacuation plan in case you need to get out in a hurry, because wildfires have been more common in recent years.”
One firefighter told KOIN 6 News it was not easy to get where they were going.
“We’re not going to a house. We’re going into an urban interface, and we’re faced with blackberry bushes, dense brush trees, and trying to get the access and find where the fire is actually seated is very difficult,” Darin said.
Neighbors showed how close the fire came to their properties — in some cases less than 100 feet away.
Firefighters said some of the residents in this neighborhood have taken the necessary precautions for brush fires because they have cut back all of the blackberry bushes and brush and taken it down to dirt to keep the fire from spreading to their homes.
No homes were damaged and no injuries have been reported.
It worries fire crews to have brush fires burning within the city so early in the year.
“I’ve been here for 24 years. It’s June 5 today. It’s very early in this in the summer,” Darin said. “And to have multiple big fires like we’ve had today is a telltale sign that’s going to be a long season for the fire fighters.”