Powerline Fire

Photo: Shayna Waltower

MATTAWA - Firefighters seem to have the wildfire burning east of Mattawa under control, with resources set to head home on Tuesday.

Fire officials with the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team said Tuesday morning the Powerline fire burning east of Mattawa has burned 7,800 acres in total, with firefighters containing 65% of the blaze as of Tuesday morning. According to the Incident Management Team, light winds and precipitation assisted firefighters with improving the fire line on Monday. Fire crews mopped up hot spots near the fire and were successful in extinguishing one flare-up Monday afternoon.

Ten power poles that were destroyed by the wildfire were replaced by Grant PUD linemen on Monday, fire officials said. The replaced power lines restored power to irrigation facilities, cell towers in the vicinity and a critical radio repeater that is used by law enforcement and emergency crews.

Coordinators say winds were robust on Monday night, putting fire lines to the test, but no flare-ups were detected. A strong majority of resources assisting with the fire will be released from the scene on Tuesday. Two Type 1 hotshot crews, one Strike Team, and one Dozer will continue to mop up the blaze throughout the day on Tuesday. Firefighters are preparing to return command back to local fire agencies on Wednesday, a sign that the once fast-paced fire will soon be extinguished.

The Powerline fire started on Sunday afternoon and quickly free to 5,000 acres by Sunday night. State mobilized resources arrived early Monday morning to relieve local fire crews that were fighting the blaze. Level 1 and Level 2 Evacuation Notices remain in effect for the 2300 block of Road O SW through Road R SW as of Tuesday morning. The public is asked to avoid traveling in the vicinity of the fire, mainly on Road 4, to decrease the impact on firefighting equipment in the area, which is traveling on two-lane narrow roads.

"A special thank you to the community of Mattawa, outlying areas and the Wahluke School District for the support and hospitality shown to firefighters and support staff during this incident," the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team stated.

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