A swift, man-made wildfire in Washington state has threatened 40,000 homes as of Sunday night as the blaze covered over 400 acres. Those homes are now in a direct evacuation route, authorities say.
Last Sunday, the Clark County Regional Emergency Services Agency reported that extremely warm and dry temperatures helped create the Nakia Creek Fire in southeast Washington to break containment lines.
The wildfire, which is now officially out of control, has prompted a compulsory evacuation zone that includes 1,000 more homes near Camas and Washougal. On Sunday, Clark County Sheriff’s deputies went to each house to ensure residents were evacuated.
Per USA Today, the evacuation zone now covers 35,000 to 40,000 homes as the fire continues to head southwest. Some have not yet been compelled to evacuate but may soon have no choice if the blaze continues to grow.
Later, the Red Cross set up shelters at the Camas Church of the Nazarene. The shelters can provide people with overnight stays and allow pets. However, the Red Cross advises people to bring their own kennel and pet supplies.
In addition, on Monday, school officials canceled classes in the area. On Oct. 9, the fire erupted, causing smoke from the large fire. The wildfire was later determined to be man-made.
People in nearby Portland, Oregon, could see the fire as it puffed through the sky as firefighters tried to fight it off as best they could.
Now, officials in the state have issued a mobilization order that opened all firefighting agencies to provide resources to fight the fire — which was only 20 percent contained as of Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters say the flames have been hard to contain because it’s moving to the steep ground. At the time, nearly 100 personnel, supported by water-dropping helicopters, attempted to push the blaze back.
Droughts, windy, high temps add to wildfire’s intensity
However, on Saturday, officials announced they were making “good progress.” However, the state is under an Air Quality Advisory until 5 p.m. Monday.
The Washington wildfire comes as the entire western United States continues to endure a significant drought as oddly high temperatures continue in the area. On Sunday, in nearby Vancouver, Washington, temperatures rose to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature broke its previous high-temperature record from 1958 by four degrees.
On the same day, officials in Portland, Oregon, reported the same temperature, surpassing the daily high of 80 in 2020. While those temps are expected to come down on Monday, they’ll jump up again in the middle of the week.
At the same time, windy conditions aren’t doing anything to help the wildfire. “The fire’s really dynamic. It’s smoky and its spreading mainly to the southwest,” Sharon Steriti of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources said.
She added: “Hopefully, we’ll have a better idea tomorrow as the weather changes, but winds are predicted to be erratic.”