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Nakia Creek Fire deemed human caused; evacuation warnings issued

The wildfire in east Clark County was sparked Sunday and grew to 250 acres by Tuesday

By , Columbian Web Editor, and
, Columbian staff reporter
Published:
2 Photos
The Nakia Creek Fire burns on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, near Larch Mountain. The fire grew to 250 acres as of Tuesday morning.
The Nakia Creek Fire burns on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, near Larch Mountain. The fire grew to 250 acres as of Tuesday morning. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Washington Department of Natural Resources said the Nakia Creek Fire was human-caused, but officials are continuing to investigate what sparked the fire, which grew to 250 acres Tuesday near Larch Mountain.

The fire — burning in the Larch Block of the Yacolt Burn State Forest — was 10 percent contained, and 97 firefighters were battling the blaze, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

About 220 homes along the Clark-Skamania county border were issued evacuation warnings, as of late Tuesday afternoon.

The vast majority of these notices were Level 1 — Be Ready. About 14 addresses fall under a Level 2 notice — Be Set. As of Tuesday afternoon, no residents were under a Level 3 notice — Go Now, according to Eric Frank, emergency management coordinator for Clark Emergency Services Agency.

“These notices are voluntary and precautionary. Those living in these areas should take steps to prepare to go and make plans on relocating any livestock that may be in the impacted area,” Frank said in a post on Nextdoor.

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The Nakia Creek Fire burns on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, near Larch Mountain.
Nakia Creek Wildfire in east Clark County Photo Gallery

Officials determined the fire must have been caused by humans because of a lack of lightning in the area, said Trina Contreras, a spokeswoman with the Department of Natural Resources.

Firefighters worked on control lines along the flanks of the fire Tuesday, but officials said the potential for the fire to grow remains. It is burning in slash and previously harvested slopes, according to an update.

A high pressure system is expected to keep weather warm and dry throughout the week, the Department of Natural Resources said.

The steep, rocky terrain has been a challenge for firefighters, and crews continued to utilize air units Tuesday to fight the blaze.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office reminded people to not fly drones in the area because the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction, though private drones have been seen in the area, which slows aerial firefighting efforts.

The area where the fire is burning is popular for off-roading, with several off-road vehicle trailheads and trails in the vicinity.

All access between the L-1600 Road at the Jones Creek ORV Trailhead and the L-1500 Road at Four Corners remains closed. This includes all motorized trails in the Jones Creek and Hagen Creek systems, as well as the Larch Mountain Trailhead. Responders are asking people to stay out of the area.

To find current evacuation warnings and other emergency notices, visit CRESA’s fire webpage at cresa911.org/2022/10/11/nakia-creek-fire-updates.

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