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Grant County wildfire 50 percent contained; 18,000-plus acres burned

Data pix.

ROYAL CITY, Wash. -- Fire crews say they have a good handle on the grass fire burning in Grant County in the Columbia Basin,  which the Department of Natural Resources says has now burned more than 18,000 acres.

And it is a tough, familiar battle for firefighters who have been putting in long hours to keep things under control.

Hundreds of firefighters across Washington state get a call, and at a moment's notice, they pack a single bag and they head out to fight these fires. At the end of the night, they all end up in the same place, at Command Central. Whether they sleep in a tent or under the stars, they do it as a team.

Kody Gaines got to the fire Tuesday night.

“We really put a hammering on it and we are looking pretty good so far," Gaines said.

After hours of being out on the fire lines, it is time for these guys to wind down from a grueling fight against the grass fire in the Columbia Basin along steep terrain and gusty winds. 

“There’s always that unexpected element because Mother Nature is always gonna do what she wants to do. She’s what controls everything around us, so we gotta play by her rules. And we fit our rules in where we can," Gaines said. 

Gaines also can't control when he sleeps during this fight. He can control where he sleeps, though, even if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate.

 They are ready for anything. This fire season started early, and these guys are prepared for the long, hot, smokey months ahead.

“We are all there to make sure that we are all coming home safe for our families and providing the community a service," Gaines said. 

 After a long grueling day, Gaines and his guys have earned a little shut-eye. 

The fire was 50 percent contained as of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, and weather permitting, officials say they hope to be out of there by Friday.

People living in Beverly, Schawana and Wanapum Village have been told to be ready to move at a moment's notice.

Officials say that so far no homes have burned, but power outages hit some areas. An emergency shelter is set up in Royal City.

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