Firefighter injured fighting Grass Valley fire in 'satisfactory' condition

UPDATE: Aug 13, 2018

The firefighter injured while fighting the Grass Valley Fire in Douglas County is in satisfactory condition. 

38-year-old Omak County Fire District #8 firefighter Brett Read was and another firefighter were trying to leave their work area on Saturday when the fire unexpectedly intensified. Read became separated from the engine he was working on and suffered burns during the incident. The other firefighter was not injured. 

Read was taken to Coulee Medical Center and later airlifted to Harborview in Seattle. He was admitted to the burn unit and as of Monday morning, was listed in satisfactory condition. 

Read has been a volunteer firefighter for 7 years and lives in the Omak area with his wife and three children. 

200 firefighters are currently fighting the nearly 75,000 acre blaze in Douglas County. 

UPDATE, Aug. 11, 2:30 p.m.: The Grass Valley fire near Mansfield in Douglas County continues to grow, now approaching 75,000 acres.

In the latest update, a spokesperson said the fire is just over the 74,000 acre range in size. Five structures have been burned and one residence was damaged.

Level 3 & 2 evacuations remain in Grand Coulee, but crews are hopeful that those could reduce. There have been no reports of injuries, besides the initial report of a firefighter being airlifted for burn treatments.

The fire has no containment thus far. Winds up to 25 mph exacerbated the fire, but crews say they've improved Sunday. The fire also started to spread as crews put more focus on protecting homes.

Officials say the crew has been shorthanded, with several other fires around the state.

Highway 174 is expected to reopen this evening.

An official says dry conditions have led to more fires this year than last year all together.

UPDATE, Aug. 11, 11:00 a.m.: The Grass Valley fire that began near Mansfield in Douglas County continues to sit at an estimated 45,000 acres as of Sunday morning.

Crews say the fire quickly escalated Saturday as a result of extremely dry conditions coupled with winds. Firefighters battled tall, fast-moving flame fronts and at one point they say it was 12 miles wide.

With the fast spreading of the fire, crews focused on defending homes and buildings. There are an estimated 150 primary residences at risk along with other agricultural lands.

Level 3 evacuations are in place from Grand Coulee to south Leahy.

State Incident Management Team resource were requested and the southeast Washington team assumed command Sunday morning.

Additional fire line resources have been ordered and will be engaged when they arrive on scene to relieve crews who worked on the fire overnight.

Air resources were working the fire early on Saturday, but wind conditions prevented scooping water from the Columbia River and getting a good visual of the fire line. Crews expect those conditions to improve so air resources can complete those tasks.

There still has been just one injury reported, as a firefighter was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for burns.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. There is 100 personnel on scene.

UPDATE, Aug. 11, 11:00 p.m.: The Grass Valley fire burning in Douglas County has quickly grown to an estimated 45,000 acres as of Saturday evening.

A spokesperson says crews expect to get some aerial footage for an accurate size, but expect the size to be in the 45,000 range. The fire escalated quickly as crews attempted to keep up with high winds affecting it and the fire travelling over 20 miles since it started

Around 150 homes have been evacuated. Several evacuation notices are in effect.

Some outbuildings have been destroyed, but no other structures have been reported lost.

A Red Cross shelter is available for evacuees at Wilbur High School.

Previous coverage: State fire assistance has been mobilized in support of firefighters working on the Grass Valley Fire located in Douglas County near Mansfield Saturday night.

The fire began Saturday morning around 11:24 a.m. and is burning in grass, brush and timber. The size of the fire is estimated at 1,000 acres and continues to grow while threatening homes, crops and infrastructure.

Level 3 evacuations are in place for Barker Canyon Rd. along Highway 174. Level 3 evacuations have been added for the City of Grand Coulee & Coulee Dam. Level 2 evacuation notices are in place for central and east sections of City of Grand Coulee. Level 1 notice is in place for Electric City.

A firefighter was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for burns.

Mobilization specialists from the Fire Protection Bureau have ordered three wildland task forces and a Type 3 incident management team.

An evacuation shelter is available at Lake Roosevelt Elementary School.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.