East (Clark) Co. Fire and Rescue
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News Releases
Photo of the NE 66th Way Incident
Photo of the NE 66th Way Incident
East county home destroyed by fast moving fire. (Photo) - 07/06/24

CAMAS, WA-Just after 3:30 on the afternoon of July 5, 2024, East County Fire and Rescue (ECFR) was dispatched to a report of a column of smoke near NE Bradford Road and NE 53rd Street. Shortly after the first unit went enroute, the response was upgraded to a residential fire at 27801 NE 66th Way.

The first arriving companies encountered a large, two-story, single-family home well involved in fire. Due to the extent of the fire and potential for structural collapse, a defensive strategy was used to confine the fire to the involved structure, protecting nearby forest land and homes in the wildland urban interface.

Initial response to this incident involved four fire engines, three water tenders, and three command officers from East County Fire and Rescue, Camas Washougal Fire Department, and Vancouver Fire Department. As the closest fire hydrant with adequate water flow was 6.7 miles away from the incident, an additional water tender was requested from Skamania County Fire District 4. Given the threat to nearby forestland, two wildland firefighting engines and a supervisor were requested from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In this incident, firefighters had to content with delayed access to a gated community, advanced fire conditions in a large home, significant vegetation exposures which if involved, would have threatened other nearby homes, significant distance to an adequate water supply point, and spot fires started in nearby vegetation by flying brands. Fortunately, both of ECFR’s fire stations were staffed, providing response of a fire engine and water tender. This, along with effective integration with neighboring agencies and DNR allowed the fire to be controlled while protecting nearby residents and properties. The occupants were not home at the time of the fire and there were no civilian or firefighter injuries.

ECFR asks that residents living in gated communities or private gated property consider providing a means for rapid fire department access in the event of an emergency. Please contact us for information on the “Knox Box” program which provides secure, access for faster fire department response.

East County Fire and Rescue

East County Fire and Rescue provides fire and life safety services to roughly 10,500 people over 60 square miles in southeast Clark County north and east of the Cities of Camas and Washougal. We are a combination full-time, part-time, and volunteer-staffed fire district responding to an average of 1,100 calls a year on both sides of the Washougal River.

More information about East County Fire and Rescue can be found at www.ecfr.us. Fire Chief Ed Hartin also welcomes your questions at ehartin@ecfr.us or (360) 834-4908.

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East County Fire and Rescue will hold question and answer sessions on Ballot Measure 5 Fire Levy Lid Lift - 07/01/24

East County Fire and Rescue will hold two question and answer sessions ahead of the August 6 primary election about Ballot Measure 5, a fire levy lid lift measure that will appear on the ballot.

The first session will take place at 6 pm on Thursday July 18th at Station 91, located at 600 NE 267th Avenue in Camas, and the second is scheduled for 10 am on Saturday, July 27th at Station 94, located at 1808 SE 352nd Avenue in Washougal.

Fire Chief Ed Hartin will deliver a short presentation and answer any questions.

Our fire district experiences a high turnover of emergency personnel. Volunteer firefighter turnover is significant as they manage work and family commitments. Turnover is also significant for part-time emergency personnel. In 2023, it was 100% and we have been unable to fill these positions as they leave for agencies that offer full-time employment. This means full-time firefighters must work significant overtime, which costs taxpayers more and has physical and mental impacts resulting in staffing shortages. 

We consistently staff Station 91 (NE 267th Avenue) as it has higher call volumes but must close Station 94 (SE 352nd Avenue) on the other side of the Washougal River when we have insufficient staffing. This delays response times, as does relying on mutual aid to respond from a neighboring agency. This staffing pattern is not sustainable and can jeopardize the outcome of emergency calls.

ECFR diligently maintains emergency apparatus to extend their usable lives. However, half of our fire engines and water tenders have reached the end of service lives and will require replacement. Only one of the district’s three fire engines passed its annual performance test in 2023. No water tenders, which are used to transport water to fires, passed inspection. The engines and water tenders that did not pass continue to require repair to remain in service. We must purchase replacements and prefer to pay cash instead of financing these purchases, saving taxpayer money in interest payments. We also need to replace firefighter equipment, such as protective clothing and emergency radios. 

The fire district is asking voters to restore the fire levy to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2024. The lid lift would cost the owner of a $650,000 (considered an average for our area) $23.29 per month/$279.50 per year. The lid lift would last for one year and fund four full-time personnel to increase the reliability of staffing both stations full-time and save money towards purchasing two engines and water tenders by 2032.

East County Fire and Rescue provides fire and life safety services serving 10,500 people over 60 square miles in southeast Clark County. We are a combination full-time, part-time and volunteer district responding to an average of 1,100 calls a year on both sides of the Washougal River. ECFR operates under a balanced budget, is debt free for the first time in its history and has passed all its financial and accountability audits by the state.

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Attached Media Files: Press Release