Fire Chief: Brush fire near Ernie’s Grove could’ve been way worse; 8 units respond to contain slash pile blaze

According to Eastside Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Burke, a brush fire near Ernie’s Grove in Snoqualmie could’ve been way worse if it hadn’t happened in the calm of the night.

Around 1AM, Tuesday, July 2nd, eight units – including crews from Eastside Fire and Rescue, Snoqualmie, Fall City, Duvall Fire Departments – responded to the fire in a remote, wooded area that had recently been clear cut near North Fork Road and 440th Place SE.

Chief Burke said crews had to hit the fire – that was consuming two large slash piles – pretty hard and fast to keep it from spreading. He said the body of the fire was about an acre and when crews arrived flames were 60 feet high and throwing spot fire to other locations.

Firefighters created a fire line to keep the fire from reaching nearby standing timber while three tender trucks continually brought in water to the remote location.

Chief Burke commented, “If this had been the middle of the day with any kind of wind, we could’ve been in trouble.”

It took about 3.5 hours for crews to extinguish the fire. Firefighters with a thermal imaging camera also followed up the next morning to ensure no hot spots, etc remained.

The King County Fire investigator is trying to determine the cause.

Chief Burke said fireworks paraphernalia was found in the area, but as the fire location was at the end of a long dirt road, he didn’t know if the paraphernalia was old or new.

Burke said the one thing he was sure of was that the fire could’ve done a lot of damage if it had started in the slash pile located only 20-30 feet from a heavy timber area – instead of where starting in the pile located in the center of the clear cut area.

Firefighters battle overnight brush fire on July 2, 2019. PC: EF&R
Firefighters battle overnight brush fire on July 2, 2019. PC: EF&R

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