Fire scorches 3,000 acres near Port Kelley

A fire caused by a lightning strike Saturday morning was contained that night without injuries.

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PORT KELLEY -- A 3,000-acre grassland fire that firefighters fought most of the day Saturday was contained at 8 p.m. that night without injury or structure loss.

The Port Kelley fire started at 11:20 a.m. on the south side of U.S. Highway 730 across from the marina and was caused by a lightning strike, fire officials said.

Throughout the day, firefighters tried to contained the fire that climbed up steep terrain to the south and then moved east, Walla Walla County Fire District 6 Chief Darrell Loney said.

At one point, high winds kicked up toward the evening, hampering firefighters.

"There for a little while we got gusts of 30 miles an hour for about 30 minutes. And then it settled and we went back to fighting the fire," Loney said.

No crop or structure damage was reported, but some acreage that had been seeded with native plants as part of the CRP program was destroyed.

Walla Walla County Fire District 6 was assisted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Columbia County, Benton County, Franklin County and Walla Walla County firefighters. About 50-60 firefighters, 18 engines, two ATVs, and six command vehicles were called in.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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