ZILLAH, Wash. — The Desmarais Fire that consumed about 10,000 acres in the Rattlesnake Hills between Moxee and Zillah was 100 percent contained by about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Firefighters closed in on the remaining 30 percent during the day Sunday, after winds died down and the weather stayed favorable.
Capt. Ron Fryer of Benton County Fire District No. 1 said Sunday’s weather was key to fighting the last of the fire.
“It’s sunny, and it’s not real hot out there, and the winds are really light,” reaching only about 7 mph, he said Sunday afternoon. “It laid down so well (Saturday) night that they didn’t have any firefighters on the line; the firefighters got a good night’s rest so they can hit it hard today.”
Only 67 firefighters remained on the scene by midafternoon Sunday, down from 120 earlier in the day, and Fryer anticipated only a “minimal” number to be doing clean-up today. There were crews from the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, Yakima Fire districts 4 and 5 as well as personnel from various fire departments statewide.
Crews were using 15 fire engines and two water tender trucks, though as firefighters demobilize, Fryer said, the firefighting equipment would also be reduced.
As of Sunday evening, Fryer said, the plan was to turn over monitoring of the fire to local fire districts by noon today. Yakima County Fire districts 4 and 5 will be in charge, along with the BLM.
The size of the fire was calculated to be 10,165 acres, Fryer said.
The fire started Friday afternoon near Desmerais Road east of Moxee, and while several structures were threatened none was damaged. The estimated cost of the fire was $210,000, Fryer said.
The cause is still under investigation. Officials say it was likely human-caused, as there was no lightning Friday, and Fryer said they’re looking into some power poles in the area as a possible source.
Small brush fires also popped up Sunday in White Swan and Terrace Heights, but they were easily contained.
• Molly Rosbach can be reached at 509-577-7728 or email@example.com.