On Saturday afternoon, fire engulfed a wind turbine south of Bickleton. Melted sections of the turbine fell to the ground surface, igniting a grass, brush, and juniper tree fire.
The Juniper Fire started on Saturday July 21, 2019. The fire grew quickly and was mostly burning in the Pine Creek Drainage area south of Bickleton. The Southeast Washington Interagency Type 3 Incident Management Team 2 assumed command over the fire at 6 a.m. on Sunday.
There were approximately 201 people working the fire, including three strike teams, three hand crews, and air resources helped for part of the cycle. Level 3 evacuations were put in place for the Pine Creek Drainage area with 39 structures threatened. As of 6 p.m. Sunday, 242 acres had burned.
On Sunday, crews worked toward completing 100 feet of containment line around the fire and aggressively on burning grass areas. With periodic wind gusts up to 28 mph at times and low relative humidity, firefighters faced challenges at times but were able to keep the fire from running up the drainage towards the town of Bickleton.
Firefighters and equipment were on the line Sunday night to monitor and patrol the fire. The crews that worked hard Sunday got a chance to rest and rehab and were ready to finish the mop up and containment lines on Monday. The goal was to have the fire ready for an expected cold front event with increased winds expected.
The fire started at approximately 1:40 p.m., on Saturday July 20, 2019. Smoke was observed coming from the generator unit of a wind turbine located south of Bickleton. Fire engulfed the turbine 300 feet above the ground.
Melted sections of the wind turbine fell to the ground surface igniting a grass, brush and juniper tree fire which, aided by gusting winds, spread to between 350 to 500 acres in steep canyon terrain by early Saturday evening.
As of 8 p.m. Saturday night, firefighting resources from across Klickitat County were dispatched to the fire, including 25 fire units, two dozers, along with two engines from DNR.
The Wind Turbine that burned on Saturday afternoon is owned by Avangrid.