Fire forces evacuations of climbers on Mount Adams

Wildfire is one of several burning around the state

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: September 10, 2012, 7:44 AM

 

Six wildfires, including ones on Mount Adams and near White Salmon, are plaguing Washington.

Mount Adams

Fire Sunday night had reached more than 1,000 acres on the western flank of the mountain. It was moving toward the southern flank, said Ken Sandusky, public information officer for the fire.

It is called the Cascade Creek fire.

The fire was caused Saturday night by a lighting strike, Sandusky said. He works for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Efforts Sunday focused on getting climbers and hikers off the mountain. Officials used cellphones to tell them to get to the Williams Mine Trailhead Road or to the south end of Bird Lake.

An estimated 50 hikers and climbers came off the mountain on Sunday. Sandusky said three or four “dedicated, passionate forest service employees are on the mountain (Sunday night) to make sure we get everybody out of there.”

He added, “This is real rough and rugged country,” noting it was too windy to get smoke-jumpers into the area Sunday.

The fire will be reassessed this morning.

Roads closed Sunday were the 8031, 8040 and 020 between 80 and 8040 in the Cherry Flats.

These trails were closed: South Climb Cold Springs 72 and 183; Morrison Shorthorn 16; Gotchen 40; Snipes 11; Crofton 73; Salt Creek 75; Stagman 12; Pineway 71; Cold Springs 72; and Lower Buck 38.

No injuries were reported.

White Salmon

The fire between White Salmon and Husum has burned 1,644 acres and is 60 percent contained, spokeswoman Mary Bean said Monday morning. Total containment is expected Thursday, she said.

It is called the Highway 141 fire.

Homeowners who were evacuated returned to their houses Friday.

Rain on Saturday helped in the effort to quell the blaze but lightning strikes Saturday were worrisome, Bean said.

Firefighters were doing controlled burns called “burnouts.” Bean said that was happening “so there’s no place for the fire to go.”

“All we had (Sunday) was smoldering, creeping and isolated burning in interior pockets,” she said.

Crew members working the fire total 638. Equipment on the fire includes seven helicopters, 12 water tenders, 23 wildland fire engines and six structure-protection engines.

Crews on Monday will continue mop up work on the fire and will start to de-mobilize Tuesday, Bean said. There was no rain overnight Sunday, but skies were grey on Monday morning.

No injuries were reported.

Others

The State Emergency Operations Center on Sunday activated what is called Phase III operations for four other fires. That means state fire assistance has been mobilized by Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste in response to requests from firefighting operations in these areas:

• Chelan County, No. 1 Canyon Fire.

• Douglas County, Leahey Fire.

• Douglas and Grant counties, Barker Canyon Fire.

• Lincoln County, Apache Pass Fire.