Weather helps firefighting efforts near White Salmon

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

Updated: September 7, 2012, 10:08 PM

 

Cool temperatures and calm winds helped overnight firefighting efforts at the Highway 141 fire two miles north of White Salmon.

The fire was 40 percent contained Friday, and revised estimates showed it had burned 1,474 acres, said Mary Bean, spokeswoman for the fire-fighting effort.

Large columns of smoke billowed Friday as the fire burned internally. The area’s steep terrain caused some burning materials to roll into already charred areas. Bonneville Power Administration power lines and natural gas pipelines are in the area, Bean said. Some power lines have been shut down so firefighters can safely work near them.

Officials lowered the evacuation area Friday to “Level 2” status, meaning residents can return to their homes but should be prepared to leave again if conditions change. Firefighters expect to have the fire contained by next week, according to incident commanders.

The fire started around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday a few miles south of Husum. So far, no homes have been lost, and no one has been injured.

About 608 firefighters were scheduled to fight the blaze Friday, Bean said.

“As long as the winds stay calm, that should very much be in our favor,” Bean said.

Smoke from the fire has been seen by people in east Clark County. The smoky conditions are likely to continue until the fire goes out or the wind shifts, according to a bulletin from CRESA. Anyone who starts to smell smoke is advised to stay inside or go some place where the air is filtered, such as a mall, movie theater, or recreation center, depending on how heavy the smoke is.

Fire officials will hold a community meeting to update residents on fire-fighting efforts at 10 a.m. today at Columbia High School, 1455 N.W. Bruin Country Road in White Salmon.