Wheat fire claims 1,100 acres
August 4, 2022
WALLA WALLA COUNTY—A fire broke out in a standing wheat field just north of Walla Walla on Friday, July 29. The fire was contained around 8 p.m. that night. The flames consumed more than 1,000 acres in a matter of hours, drawing responses from nearly all Walla Walla County fire districts, with aid coming from Walla Walla and College Place rural units.
This fire has been dubbed the “Van Ausdle Fire” due to its starting point near Van Ausdle Lane.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, and fire district officials said no injuries were reported. The potential for harm to firefighters and others was increased by community members who drove to the area to watch the fire, forcing the Walla Walla County Public Works and Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office to set up road barriers to the site.
While it may be safe to observe from a distance, it is crucial to keep roadways clear to give firefighters unobstructed access to the area.
Onlookers can also create hazards for home and property owners in the event of an evacuation. A level one, or “Get Ready,” evacuation notice for this fire was in effect for residents in the area that runs between Lower and Middle Waitsburg roads. In rural areas, evacuation can include animal trailers, farm equipment, and family vehicles. Unnecessary and unauthorized vehicles can cause traffic delays and added stress for those evacuating.
Though drones were not an issue at the Van Ausdle fire, Walla Walla County Emergency officials remind the public that drones are prohibited from operating around a fire.
For notification on emergencies and fires, Walla Walla County residents are encouraged to sign up for the Citizen Alert Notification by visiting https://tinyurl.com/2hyprdjd.