A fire investigator says the Rochester fire that damaged several structures and a car and forced families to evacuate late Wednesday afternoon was started by a person.
Crews from Thurston, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties, and the Department of Natural Resources and a correctional facility, responded to calls about a rapidly moving fire just after 4 p.m.
West Thurston Fire Captain Lanette Dyer said the fire started in a field west of a housing development at Kuper Court Southwest, then jumped and spread, spanning more than 33 acres.
“Several homes were being threatened,” Dyer said. “Those homes were ordered to evacuate.”
More than 100 firefighters responded, stopping its progressabout 6 p.m., Dyer said. It was contained by 11 p.m.
“We slowed it down enough that we could get a line around it before midnight,” Kassel said.
Dyer said families were able to return to their homes overnight, but crews stayed through the night to ensure there weren’t any flare-ups.
Albert Kassel, who is leading the investigation for DNR, said the fire was human-caused. He said Thursday afternoon that a report on the fire’s cause will be released as soon as possible, but noted it was not linked to previous fires in the county this summer.
One responder had minor injuries and was treated on scene. No residents were reported injured.
Dyer said the fire jumped in multiple directions, moving across 201st Avenue Southwest, and it nearly reached Maple Lane School before it was stopped.
One garage, two out buildings and a car that was parked in the middle of a field were destroyed. The fire was extinguished before it reached housing developments, though the vinyl siding of some homes was blistered, Dyer said.
Dyer estimated this is the biggest fire that crews have responded to in the southwestern part of Thurston County this year. Crews, including five engines, were still on scene Thursday cleaning up, Kassel said.