All evacuations for Sumner Grade Fire lifted

VIDEO: All evacuations for Sumner Grade Fire lifted

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — All evacuations from the Sumner Grade Fire were lifted Sunday evening as crews reported that the 500 acre fire is nearly out.

Crews are working to try to return things to normalcy and get State Route 410 reopened after lots of damage was left behind.

KIRO 7 was told it was going to take a while, however residents are grateful to be able to return home.

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“It’s nice. I’m gonna sleep in a nice bed and not a motel room,” Steven Ripp said. He was happy to finally be home with his cat Sweet Pea.

Ripp was forced to evacuate on Tuesday when flames fueled by strong winds and dry conditions engulfed his neighborhood.

“The weather dictates what you can do with the fire. Just like when the fire started, the winds pushing it so fast, you couldn’t keep up with it running,” East Pierce Fire and Rescue Chief Bud Backer said.

Officials said the Sumner Grade Fire was started by a blown transformer. The fire destroyed eight buildings, including two homes. The fire chief said he has never seen a wildfire erupt quite like this before.

“The fact that the fire grew and ran and essentially was torching tress in the early morning hours of the day was extremely rare in these parts. It just doesn’t happen,” Backer said.

And on Tuesday, dozens of people in Bonney Lake were suddenly evacuated.

“All this stuff is not as important as life, so you just walk away,” Ripp said. “You hope you got everything you need and obviously you don’t always do that.”

Residents and firefighters are relieved that cooler temperatures are providing much needed relief as the fire is now 65% contained.

“It’s laying still. It’s really not even burning a whole lot, except for in a couple of places. It’s just mostly smoldering and cooking out there,” Backer said.

Crews said their focus now is repairing what the fire damaged.

“It’s nice to be home. And hey, they did a wonderful job. A wonderful job,” Ripp said.

Crews said they need to keep 410 closed until they can replace all the guardrails, which were scorched in the fire. They said they are also keeping an eye on the hillside for rocks and falling debris.