by: Terra Sullivan Updated:
GRAND MOUND, Wash. - Fire officials say a pile of yard waste, tree stumps, branches and scraps "spontaneously combusted" Monday night, setting off a three-acre brush fire that burned dangerously close to homes in Grand Mound.
According to West Thurston Fire Authority Lt. Lanette Dyer, the area where the fire broke out, at 163rd Ave Southwest and Case Road Southwest, is near where crews were working on an Interstate 5 widening project.
Trees from the project had been removed and piled in the area. The large pile of debris had been compressed and had started to decompose, which caused the pile to naturally combust.
Crews arrived at the scene around 9 p.m.
Dyer said at least six homes in the area were seriously in danger with flames from the fire shooting 30 to 40 feet in the air.
By 1:30 a.m., the fire had been contained but crews from Thurston County, Grays Harbor and Oakville remained at the fire.