Fern Prairie, WA — At a Tuesday press briefing local and regional authorities said 140 new firefighters are en route to help extinguish the Nakia Creek Fire, which has been burning since October 9. Officials also provided an update on the evacuation zone, the person of interest investigation, acreage burned, and weather conditions, among other news.
Natalie Weber, Public Information Officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Sgt. Chris Skidmore, of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and Matt Howard, Incident Commander, briefed the media.
Weber said 600 homes in the evacuation zone had direct contact with Clark County Sheriff’s deputies informing them of the need to evacuate, and said 140 firefighters from the region are en route to assist with the blaze, which has consumed about 1,800 acres.
“There has been slight acreage growth on the Nakia Creek Fire,” said Weber. “This is natural growth that is expected. New aircraft and equipment is coming today. Weather conditions are foggy in the morning, with higher humidity, which helps. The fog limits visibility and creates challenges. The area has steep ridges that hinder access.”
- The weather outlook is mostly favorable, with some winds forecast.
- Evacuation zones are unchanged from Monday.
- 222 homes are still in the evacuation zone, affecting 2,500 people.
- Containment is 5 percent.
- Oregon firefighter crews will remain through the weekend.
- Crew moral is high.
- It took time to get enough firefighters to battle this fire.
- No structure has been lost.
- A new camp in Fern Prairie has been set up to house all the firefighters. It has tents, showers and a kitchen to help them function.
- Firefighters have all they need for supplies.
Skidmore said the Sheriff’s Office determines the evacuation zones, based on intelligence from Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and ODF. He also addressed the fire investigation, which is focusing on four persons of interest who were recorded at the scene when the fire first erupted.
“The persons of interest include four adults, two females and two males,” said Skidmore. “It also includes a white Subaru Forrester. They were encountered by two people down the trail who provided more descriptions about the number of people. Many people have called in.”
Skidmore said deputies are patrolling the area to protect people’s property, and he urged people to steer clear of the area for recreation purposes.
Howard said it’s been 20 years since Oregon firefighters have worked on the ground in Washington.
“Morale with the crew is high,” Skidmore said. “They recognize the need for them to be here. Crews are are and well trained.”