Smoke from several area fires limited visibility Tuesday for aircraft, as well. Weber said steep terrain makes some areas inaccessible to ground crews, so aircraft are needed to fight the blaze. Officials were hopeful conditions would clear up later in the day.
“Rolling debris is a concern in areas with steep terrain, posing risks to firefighters working downslope,” CRESA said. “Crews will also be on the lookout for hazard trees and other dangerous situations.”
Weber said the weather outlook appears favorable and that officials aren’t too concerned about winds and 80 degree temperatures forecasted Wednesday in Camas. Crews are holding out for some weekend rain, which is expected to bring some relief starting Friday.
However, Weber said rain can also make the hillsides more prone to washing out, and authorities will keep firefighter safety in mind.
New crews arrive
Incident Commander Matt Howard said it’s been a couple of decades since the Oregon Department of Forestry had a team in Washington. New teams from the agency are arriving each day, and Howard said the fresh crews are excited to be here.
“The morale was high, and they recognize the need for them to be here,” Howard said. “The crews that are here are eager. They’re well trained. They’re seasoned after a long fire season, and they are ready to do good.”
He noted there’s still about 2,500 residents in evacuation zones and said fire crews are working hard to get people back home and back to their normal lives. He expects the crews to make significant progress on containing the blaze in the next few days.
Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Skidmore said deputies continue to patrol the evacuation areas to ensure the safety of homes and property. He also reminded people to stay out of the area and said deputies are still turning people around who are coming to the Larch Mountain area for recreation, like mountain biking, shooting and hunting.
Officials set up camp in a field across from Grove Field in Camas Tuesday afternoon. Tents were pitched in taped-off pods that ODF spokesman Joe Touchstone said is a part of the agency’s COVID-19 protocol. The camp was complete with showers, meal areas, hand-washing stations and everything firefighters need to stay through the week.
Weber said those who want to donate can make a financial contribution to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which helps the families of firefighters who are injured or killed.
Nakia Creek Fire
The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office is seeking to identify a vehicle of interest and the people associated with it as a part of the investigation into the cause of the fire. The agency shared a video Monday that was reportedly recorded at about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9 and depicts a light-colored SUV before panning to a plume of smoke rising from the hillside. The Nakia Creek Fire was reported at around 3:45 p.m. that day. Officials have said the fire was human caused due to a lack of lightning at the time.
Skidmore said the fire marshal’s office has been inundated with tips, although he didn’t know how many were legitimate. He said the video was taken by someone who was in the area and the witness interviewed led investigators to believe there were two men and two women associated with the vehicle at the time.
Popping sounds can be heard on the video, and Skidmore said investigators believe the people were shooting off some sort of pyrotechnics.
Skidmore noted the burn bans that have been in place this summer.
“It’s just unfortunate because this is what it ends up costing,” he said.
Anyone with information about the vehicle or the people associated with it is asked to call the fire marshal’s office at 564-397-3320.
To see if a house is in the evacuation zone, visit the Nakia Creek Fire GIS Interactive Map.