Brush fire near fairgrounds brings out firefighting helicopter

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A brush fire along Northeast 179th Street near the Interstate 5 interchange brought out multiple agencies, including a Washington Department of Natural Resources helicopter stationed in the county for the first time this year.

Clark County Fire & Rescue reported it responded to a brush fire about an acre in size in the 2500 block of Northeast 179th Street at about 1:30 p.m. Aug. 20. Though trees, brush and grass were on fire, no structures were threatened.

Difficult terrain and the remote location of the fire led CCF&R to call for more resources, with five additional agencies responding, among them Clark County Fire District 6, Clark County Fire District 3, the Vancouver Fire Department, Cowlitz County Fire District 1 and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR provided two dozen firefighters, two engines and a helicopter as part of the response. The helicopter, based at Camp Bonneville, dropped water on the blaze while two “hand crews” with a dozen firefighters each and the engines provided ground support.

According to CCF&R, the DNR would be handling the investigation since it only damaged natural vegetation.

Helicopter response is new for Clark County as earlier this year the Clark County Council approved an agreement to have a DNR crew based at Camp Bonneville over the fire season. The contract runs from June through the end of September with the potential for renewal of the contract upon mutual agreement. As part of the agreement, the DNR is paying $400 a month plus utilities while they occupy a portion of the camp.

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