Grant County Fire District #3, with a collaboration between multiple agencies, was able to quickly contain a wildfire Saturday night near Frenchman Coulee.
Just after 10 p.m. on July 11, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office issued a Level 1 evacuation notice for campers and climbers along the Old Vantage Highway due to a wildfire. There was a Level 3 evacuation notice for one living structure and one outbuilding, said Tony Leibelt, GDFD#3 deputy chief.
The Grant County Sheriff’s handled the evacuation while GDFD#3 handled fighting the fire with help from Grant County Fire District #10. GCFD#3 requested support from GCFD#10 due to a portion of GCFD#3’s resources being allocated to Mansfield at the time. As of Monday afternoon, GCFD#3 firefighters are no longer fighting the Mansfield fire and are back home.
In total there was 58 personnel that were involved in the fire fighting and evacuation from multiple different agencies. Leibelt said that this kind of collaborative effort between agencies is key to gaining control of fast-moving wind driven fires.
The wildfire was 38 acres and started on private land before moving onto federal land. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. This is the second fire in that area in the last two weeks, but they don’t believe the two are connected, Leibelt said.
Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kyle Foreman said that a lot of wildfires around this time are caused by humans unintentionally. He also said that the wind compounds everything and that it was very windy that night.
GCFD#3 left the area Sunday afternoon and the fire is considered contained at this point. There are still Bureau of Land Management personnel on scene to keep an eye on it in case it manages to restart, Leibelt said. The roadblock on Old Vantage Highway that leads to the Frenchman Coulee and boat launch area was reopened Monday morning.