East Jefferson Fire Rescue and Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue are answering a call for help from communities near Spokane.
The two agencies have formed a joint crew of three firefighters as part of a wildfire taskforce, answering a call for help issued Wednesday by the state fire marshal’s office, according to Chief Bret Black, who oversees both fire districts, in a press release.
The taskforce is a compilation of wildland firefighters throughout the region. The joint East Jefferson/Port Ludlow crew is joining firefighters from West Mason, Thurston, South Beach RFA and Grays Harbor led by a task force leader from West Mason Fire.
The crew was requested “immediate need,” which means the crew drove through the night to go directly to the fire front upon arrival, Black said.
Lieutenant Gavin Rogers and Firefighter Jacob Kinney, both with East Jefferson Fire Rescue, and Firefighter Alex Sviridovich of Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue are assigned to Brush Engine 11 as part of the wildfire task force in the Williams Lake Fire, which has evacuations in place and more than 400 homes threatened.
“Although they are currently assigned to the Williams Fire, they could get reassigned while en route,” Black said. “There is another fire near Ellensburg … a lot can change in the next few hours.”
It is common for the crew to be reassigned, Black said.
The state Department of Natural Resources said late Wednesday that the Williams Lake Fire had grown to 5 square miles and was 0 percent contained.
Williams Lake is about 32 miles south of Spokane.
Although the weather was trending cooler Thursday, a warming trend was forecast for the weekend.
“Along the western states, we are entering the witching hour of fire season; August, September and October are typically the most intense months of the year for wildfires,” Black said, as he recommended residents to prepare “go bags” in case they need to move quickly.
“I am privileged to be able to field such a qualified team of firefighters,” Black said.
“I ask the Jefferson County community to keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers,” Black said.