EPHRATA - Downed power lines caused by the wind kept utility and fire crews busy on Friday. Three fire were started by the downed live wires during the Friday afternoon wind gusts.
The first was reported at 4:58 p.m. in Ephrata. Ephrata Fire Chief Jeremy Burns says the wind knocked down a line that sparked a fire at SR 28 and Basin Street near Oasis Park. The blaze burned eastward towards Dodson Rd. it only took one hour for firefighters from Ephrata and Grant County Fire District 13 to extinguish the three-acre blaze. The fire burned eastward towards a few homes off Dodson Rd. No buildings or property burned. Fire crews monitored the live power line for three hours until PUD crews could shut it off.
Later, at about 5:30 p.m., firefighters in Mattawa tended to a three-acre fire that was caused by live electrical lines. Grant County Fire District 8 officials say the wind broke off two power poles that sent two live wires into an orchard off SR 243 about four miles north of Mattawa. The fire burned along an orchard and torched about 20 apple beds. That line was shut off about 20 minutes after the fire was reported. Firefighters say it took about 2 hours to extinguish the blaze.
Details are limited, but Grant PUD officials say a third fire was sparked by downed power lines near Royal City around that afternoon. Utility staff say the fire started a few miles away from Royal City on SR 26. That fire was small and was controlled after a short time.