2 dead identified in eastern Washington wildfires, more than 350 homes destroyed

Aug 30, 2023, 5:41 AM | Updated: 6:49 am

Image: A picture of the Interstate 90 westbound closure point at Four Lakes/State Route 902 Friday,...

A picture of the Interstate 90 westbound closure point at Four Lakes/State Route 902 Friday, August 18 from the Washington State Department of Transportation's IRT team. (Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation)

(Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation)

The men found dead in two wildfires that ignited in eastern Washington earlier this month have been identified, and the number of homes destroyed has been confirmed at more than 350.

Carl Grub, 86, died on Aug. 18 near an intersection in Medical Lake west of Spokane in the area of the Gray fire, which started that day, according to a Friday news release from the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office. Grub’s cause and manner of death is still pending.

Grub, with his brother, founded The Jensen Memorial Youth Ranch, where he taught kids interested in agriculture how to care for and raise livestock, KREM-TV reported. Earlier this year, the Junior Livestock Show of Spokane had been dedicated to Grub.

“The world needs more people like Carl,” the Junior Livestock Show of Spokane wrote on its Facebook page. “He will be greatly missed.”

On Aug. 20, Alex Brown died in Elk, Washington, north of Spokane in an area burned by the Oregon fire. Brown, 49 died from thermal and inhalation injuries, and his manner of death listed as accidental.

The fires sparked on Aug. 18 during critical fire weather conditions. The Gray fire started west of Medical Lake, prompting mandatory evacuations and burning around Interstate 90, closing it in that area for more than two days.

About 240 homes and 86 other kinds of structures were destroyed in the Gray fire, Lily Mayea, public information officer with Northwest Team 7 on the Gray fire, said Tuesday.

The human-caused blaze has scorched 15.75 square miles (40.79 square kilometers) and was 85% contained as of Tuesday. Evacuations remain in place for some people, although none as of Tuesday were mandatory.

The Oregon fire began east of Elk and has burned 16.9 square miles (43.77 square kilometers) with 79% containment as of Tuesday. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, all evacuation notices connected to the Oregon fire have been lifted, said Bill Queen, public information officer with Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3 on the Oregon fire.

He said 126 primary residences and 258 outbuildings were destroyed in the blaze.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Aug. 19 declared a statewide emergency because of the two fires and others burning around the state.



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2 dead identified in eastern Washington wildfires, more than 350 homes destroyed