Washington wildfire caused by pyrotechnic, police seek tips

Oct 20, 2022, 6:24 AM | Updated: 6:53 am
Photo from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources...
Photo from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

A wildfire in southwest Washington state that ballooned in size Sunday, causing regional air quality issues, may have been started by a firework or firearm, officials said.

The Nakia Creek Fire started Oct. 9 on Larch Mountain, northeast of Camas.

Clark County Fire Marshal Dan Young said this week that someone visiting Larch Mountain spotted smoke and got video on his cellphone, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

In the video, starts of smoke can be seen as well as two women, two men and a light-colored Subaru, and investigators would like to speak to those people, Young said.

“We’re not sure what they were doing; we’re calling it a pyrotechnic at this time,” he said. “We don’t know if it’s a firework or a firearm, or something like that.”

Since Sunday when the blaze spread quickly and caused ongoing evacuations, improved weather conditions have allowed firefighters to reduce the threat to nearby homes.

Officials said Wednesday the fire was the number one priority in the country because of its potential risk to life and the resources it will take to put it out, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Dave Larson, deputy incident commander for the Oregon Department of Forestry, the agency that has taken charge of the firefighting.

Fire officials are feeling confident with rain expected Friday, Larson said.

It will be about finding a “sweet spot” that takes advantage of the rain and keeps firefighters safe amid potential mudslides.

“We’re aware of that and making sure everyone is taking the proper precautions,” Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson Natalie Weber said.

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Washington wildfire caused by pyrotechnic, police seek tips