3rd Alarm Wildland-Urban Interface Fire

Tour Commander, 509.625.7100

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 8:55 a.m.

On Friday, August 14, at 11:03 AM, Spokane Fire Department responded to a Greater Alarm Brush Fire at 6320 West Sunset Frontage Road in the City's West Hills Neighborhood. With heavy smoke visible from more than 5 miles distant, partnering agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Spokane Fire District 10, and firefighters from several Spokane County agencies soon joined the battle in an area considered an urban-interface threat zone.

Initially reported as a 1-acre fire in dense brush, first on-scene resources found the fire moving rapidly and torching and crowning in heavy timber. The extreme fire behavior and weather conditions brought a swift and substantial third-alarm response, as 100 Firefighters worked aggressively in the 90-degree heat, to prevent the fire from destroying structures and spreading to nearby neighborhoods. Assisting the SFD's efforts, were our federal and state aviation partners that successfully delivered very strategic water drops from eight aircraft. With the fire crews on the ground, aviation assets, and support, the wildland fire was brought under control in just over six hours minutes and held to approximately 14 acres.

Firefighters will remain on the fire throughout the evening to reinforce the firelines. Crews will also be patrolling the area to ensure that no wind-blown embers create other fires in unburned fuel. Careful management of wildland urban-interface incidents in this manner will prove to be of the utmost importance as we move deeper into the wildland fire season and face more challenging weather events.

All threatened structures were successfully protected by firefighters and through the coordinated water drops from aircraft. There were no reported injuries from either firefighters or civilians as a result of this incident. Evacuations of the immediate and threatened areas were facilitated through the execution of the City's evacuation plan by the Spokane Police, Washington State Patrol, and Spokane Sheriff's Office. The evacuation orders have been since lifted. 

The fire's nature is accidental, and the cause was determined to be spontaneous combustion of a debris pile. DNR is the lead investigative agency.

Lastly, the State of Washington Fire Marshal's Office approved State Mobilization for the incident to assist with aircraft and firefighting-related expenses.