Willow Lakes Fire Burns 20,000 Acres Of Sagebrush

EPHRATA – A fire in Grant County has burned an estimated 20,000 acres of sagebrush, but is not immediately threatening any homes.

Gary Garnet of Grant County Emergency Management says the fire, called the Willow Lakes Fire, was first reported around 9 a.m. in an area six miles east of Ephrata and four miles southeast of Soap Lake.  Winds estimated above 10 miles per hour helped spread the fire quickly through sagebrush and dry grass in the rural area.

One home was damaged by the fire, and two outbuildings were destroyed.  Fire crews are keeping an eye on the few homes in the area, but there are no evacuations in effect nor plans to evacuate people at this time.  Fire crews on the north side of the fire are protecting some residences, just in case the fire heads their direction.

Crews from Grant County Fire Districts #5, #7 and #13, along with the Ephrata Fire Department, are fighting the fire.  State help was approved at 2:30 p.m., and the Department of Natural Resources are sending crews to the scene.  Three strike teams with 15 engines are heading to Willow Lakes to help the Grant County crews.

Garnet said that two helicopters and an airplane were dropping water and retardant on the fire, which is being fought on the north and south sides of the fire.  The winds have died down significantly, Garnet says, and that is helping crews stop the fire from advancing.

There have been no injuries in the fire.