Washington Evacuates Thousands as Wildfire Near Border Continues to Grow

by Craig Garrett
Burnout at B&B complex - stock photo

Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate in Washington on Sunday as a wind-driven wildfire rapidly grew. On Sunday, a wildfire east of Vancouver, Washington rapidly grew due to gusty winds and low humidity. This prompted evacuations as the blaze sent up smoke visible throughout the metropolitan area that Vancouver shares with Portland, Oregon.

The Nakia Creek Fire proved difficult in Clark County. The blaze was amongst difficult terrain of brush and timber. By Sunday afternoon, it had spread to an estimated 2,000 acres (780 hectares), said Ryan Rodruck, a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Nearly 1,000 households left the area, according to Rodruck . The state issued a mobilization order which allows any firefighting agency to dispatch resources to the blaze, he said. According to The Columbian, the Clark Emergency Services Agency broadened evacuation zones to encompass rural areas outside of Camas and Washougal.

The emergency services agency issued a statement. “Please understand that this is a very dynamic situation and if you are anywhere near this area, you should take precautions to evacuate,” it said. Some of the Larch Block fire had been secured by crews working to put out the flames. The National Weather Service predicted harsh conditions for Sunday, including high winds and low humidity in the south Washington Cascades. Wind gusts could potentially reach 48 kilometers per hour. A church in Camas is now a shelter for evacuees.

The Northwest has been battling wildfires all month

The National Inter Agency Fire Center has released a report stating that there is an above-normal number of wildfires burning in the Western United States due to the recent hot temperatures and low relative humidity. As of now, 66 large fires are burning in the United States, as stated by the NIFC. One of these fires is Nakia Creek Fire near Camas, east of Vancouver, which caused evacuation orders on Sunday.

As the AP notes, smoke from the Washington wildfire in eastern Clark County was visible throughout Vancouver and Portland. According to KGW, the Clark Emergency Services Agency expanded evacuation zones on Sunday, which now affects 35,000-40,000 homes.

According to NIFC data, 24 large fires were burning in Idaho. Meanwhile, 22 burn in Montana, 13 in Washington, and five in Oregon on Sunday. California and South Dakota each reported one large fire. In addition, scientific research shows that climate change is a key factor in wildfire risk. Much of the U.S.

According to a National Weather Service outlook update on Sunday night, an upper ridge indicative of warmth will spread across the Northwest in the next few days. This is in stark contrast to the colder temperatures currently experienced in two-thirds of the eastern United States.