Press Release List

Cause of Wednesday Wildfire Under Investigation

The cause of today's wildfire that Fire District 5 responded to is still under investigation and undetermined.

Grays Harbor Fire District 5 was dispatched to a fire along a hillside in the 200 block of Mox Chehalis Road in Malone on Wednesday, March 20th in the afternoon at 1:45. The original caller said that the fire was approximately 60x80 in size called that had been called in by a neighbor.

A smoke column could be seen rising from the scene from as far away as Brady.

On arrival, the first unit advised that the fire was in heavy brush creeping up the hill with structures threatened. The fire was traveling in a North Northwest direction. The fire was then estimated at 3 acres in size, with the Washington State Department of Natural resources being advised and mutual aid requested from McCleary Fire, Fire District 12, Fire District 1 and Elma Fire. Later Fire District 2 was added.

The first arriving brush unit from the districts Malone Station arrived and started protecting the residence at the location and fighting the fire and was able to maintain that protection throughout the firefighting efforts.

The County Roads Department was called and requested to assist in closing the roadway for safety as the fire was along the roadway, and the numerous fire apparatus and crews working the scene were blocking the roadway. The roadway was later reopened just after 8:41 pm.

Resources from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources arrived just before 4:00 pm with hand crew teams along with a helicopter for water drops and the Thurston County Wildland Strike Team. The helicopter along with a local command officer surveyed the scene to come up with a plan to continue to contain and knock down the fire which had grown to a size of approximately 30 – 40 acres.

The fire had reached the top of the hills side and was continuing along the ridge which was north of the Mox Chehalis Road.

A unified command was established between both local jurisdictions and the arriving state and mutual aid units.

Structural fire engine crews from both Fire District 5 and Elma Fire was requested to assist in creating a safe zone for the homes affected by the fire just before 7:00 pm.

The State DNR helicopter could be seen picking up water from the area of Wenzel Slough and carrying it back over to the fire scene on Mox Chehalis.

The fire scene was officially turned over to the Washington State Department of Natural resources just after 8:30 and they had a team and overnight fire watch established. Fie could be seen flaring up in some areas along the roadway overnight, being tended to by State DNR staff.

In total there were 11 fire units, 2 command units, West Thurston Fire Strike Team, WA State DNR, DNR Helicopter on the scene.

A neighbor Austin Griffith was said to be a very big help to responders arriving on scene helping where he could.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time with further investigation needed.

Full command of the incident was turned over to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources at 8:36 pm. Fire units from Grays Harbor Fire District 5 were on scene for 7 hours.