Friday, October 30, 2020
Oct. 30, 2020

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Big Hollow wildfire near north Clark County slowly growing

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter

The Big Hollow wildfire burning east near Yale Reservoir in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest did not significantly grow Thursday. Evacuation notices for north Clark County remained at the same levels Friday morning.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources estimated Thursday that the fire had burned 12,050 acres. That number had not changed as of Friday morning. However, officials say the fire continues to grow. The U.S. Forest Service reported the fire is active, spotting, crowning and running.

“(The) fire continues to make upslope runs with spotting, which causes additional upslope runs. The fire has burned into recent logging slash on state lands in the west portion of the fire,” the U.S. Forest Service said.

Most of the fire activity and growth Thursday was along the southwest perimeter of the fire, but officials noted the growth wasn’t as significant as the previous two days.

The Department of Natural Resources has issued a Level 1 “Get Ready” evacuation notice for the north Yacolt and Amboy areas and a Level 2 “Get Set” notice for Chelatchie Prairie.

A Level 1 evacuation notice means residents should be aware of the potential danger and should “get ready” in the event of a mandatory evacuation.

“Residents with special needs, or those with pets or livestock, should take note and prepare for relocating family members, pets and livestock. Refine your evacuation plans and gather the things you will need if you must evacuate,” CRESA explained in social media posts.

A Level 2 evacuation notice indicates a significant risk in the area.

“Now is the time to be set for immediate evacuation. Residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or designated area or with family/friends outside the area or be ready to leave at a moment’s notice,” according to the agency.

These areas remain under threat despite the slow growth of the fire. Extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions and firefighting resources stretched thin across the region, and nation, are adding to the dilemma. 

Communities around Yale Reservoir will see an influx of firefighting resources as crews battle the fire’s western and northern fronts and develop structure protection plans as needed.

The Department of Natural Resources has aerial assets available to help, but smoky skies are making it difficult to use them. There is plenty of smoke coming from the Big Hollow wildfire, but most of the smoke affecting Clark County is actually from fires in Oregon and California.

Officials are estimating a containment date of Oct. 10.