The Highway 141 Fire Complex between Husum and White Salmon has burned nearly 1,700 acres as of this morning, and recent cooler temperatures and lighter winds are expected to help emergency crews get a handle on the blaze that began burning last Wednesday.
Emergency crews now have the fire 85 percent contained, with 100 percent containment expected by the end of today. No structures were reported damaged or lost — although hundreds of homes were threatened in subdivisions near White Salmon. Approximately 120 people had to be evacuated, but those orders were lifted Monday morning. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Only one injury has been reported; a firefighter sustained a broken ankle Monday.
Equipment that has been used to fight the fire includes 10 bulldozers, 12 water tenders, and numerous wildland and structural protections engines. In addition, seven helicopters were assigned to the fire.
According to an update from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, yesterday mop up operations began within 100 feet of the fire line, and significant demobilization of personnel started Monday and continues today.
A handful of local emergency responders have spent time helping with the Highway 141 Complex Fire, where approximately 600 personnel are on scene. According to Camas-Washougal Fire Department Chief Nick Swinhart, four of the local department’s firefighters are assisting with the blaze in White Salmon. On scene since Wednesday, Swinhart said they left Monday and have now been sent to Wenatchee where three large fires (Canyons Fire, Peavine Fire and the Twin Peaks Fire) have now merged into one and residents are on notice that they may need to evacuate their homes.
East County Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Koehler said two firefighters from his agency were at the Highway 141 Complex Fire until last night, when they were moved to another fire that has already burned 30,000 acres near Grand Coulee Dam in Grant County. ECFR also has two firefighters on the management team at the Cascade Creek Fire near Trout Lake.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it authorized the use of federal funds to help pay 75 percent of the costs associated with fighting the Highway 141 Complex Fire, the Canyons Fire and the Barker Canyon Fire near Grand Coulee. The grants provide reimbursement for fire fighting and life-saving efforts, according to FEMA.