Nakia Creek fire at 1,565 acres; evacuation zones shrink

Nakia Creek Fire

For more information on the Nakia Creek Fire visit the Camas Post-Record's sister paper at www.columbian.com/news/tag/nakia-creek-fire

Evacuation areas for the Nakia Creek Fire were pulled back this morning as fire managers get a better sense of fire activity following changes in weather overnight.

The Nakia Creek Fire had grown tenfold since Friday to 1,565 acres on Sunday as hot, dry and windy weather gave new life to a fire that had been smoldering the better part of last week.

According to Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, the east Clark County fire is 0 percent contained.

No structures have been damaged by the fire and no injuries have been reported, according to Sharon Steriti, spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resouces.

CRESA said in a 10 a.m. statement that crews will be working on the north, west and south sides of the fire today. Additionally, there are structure protection crews working.

Evacuation zones have shrunk since Sunday night, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Some roads have also reopened, including Northeast 53rd Street to Northeast 292nd Avenue and Northeast Blair Road to state Highway 500. Closures remain in the areas of Lessard, Ireland, Livingston Mountain, Boulder Creek and Winters. The L1000 and L1400 roads are also still closed.

“Stay out of the area if you don’t need to be there,” the sheriff’s office said on Twitter. “Do not fly drones in or around the fire areas. Weather is improving and will allow more aerial firefighting opportunities but can’t if drones are up.”

Sunday estimates of the fire’s size had placed it at as large as 2,000 acres.

Those in need of help can reach the Emergency Operations Center for Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency at 360-992-9229. People can also sign up for phone and email alerts here.

Those in “Level 3 Go Now” should evacuate to the south toward Washougal River Road into Washougal.

Schools

The Washougal School District announced there would be no classes on Monday due to the fire. Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School and Canyon Creek Middle School are both in the Level 3 evacuation area and have been closed by the fire chief. For those impacted by the fire, Gause Elementary School will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide on-site meals, support and recreational activities. More information is available on the district’s website.

The Mount Pleasant district also canceled classes.

Camas schools will be in session today.

Evergreen Public Schools, which has schools and students in Level 1 and 2 evacuation zones, is in session today. The district said it will send out updates as more information is made available.

Shelters & animals

Evacuation zones expanded repeatedly throughout Sunday and may expand more, officials warned. Updated fire and evacuation information will be posted at CRESA website.

Shelter locations have been opened by the American Red Cross at Camas Church of Nazarene, 2204 N.E. Birch St., in Camas.

ilani has opened up parking lots 10 and 11 for evacuees. Those using the lots are asked to put a sign in their window saying “Fire Evacuee.” No RV services are available, and gray water will need to be dumped at the Gee Creek Rest Area.

For livestock shelter, call  360-607-2535 for assistance. Livestock is being housed at the Clark County Fairgrounds.

The Humane Society for Southwest Washington, located at the edge of east Vancouver, does not need to clear from the facility but staff are monitoring the Nakia Creek fire in case they must leave, according to a statement from the organization. It was previously in the Level 1 – Get Ready zone but is now in the clear outside the boundary.

“We’re now less concerned about moving shelter animals rather preparing to help the community,” said Sam Ellingson, director of communication and marketing.

Shelter staff and volunteers packed a van with supplies early Monday to send to Camas Church of the Nazarene, which is tending to a handful of animals for evacuees.

The Humane Society for Southwest Washington does not currently need helping hands but will announce a request for assistance if that need arises.

West Columbia Gorge Humane Society had been on the edge of a level one evacuation area but no longer is.

Air quality and forecasts

A day after the Nakia Creek Fire sent a plume of smoke floating over east Clark County, air quality has moved into the Moderate range. Those in sensitive groups are advised to reduce outdoor activity. Most of the Interstate 5 corridor from southern Oregon, north to the Canadian border is in the Moderate range, according to airnow.gov. These conditions are expected to persist through Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service in Portland, the Northwest’s rainy season will start in earnest Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, temperatures should be cooler Monday and Tuesday than over the weekend, though still above average for October. Light winds are expected.

Black Hole Incident

A Level 1 evacuation notice was issued for an area near Chelatchie Prairie. This fire overlaps some of the the Big Hollow fire area from 2020. The fire is burning near the Clark County border with Cowlitz and is northwest of the Siouxon Fire.

The Nakia Creek Fire started Oct. 9 in an extremely steep area covered with a mix of brush, medium logging slash and timber. Prior to the fire’s expansion Sunday containment was estimated at 20 percent.

The fire had been smoldering and creeping with some torching observed and short-range spotting. Fire managers said the potential for fire growth remains, and containment lines are being put in place.

This story will be updated.