Growing wildfire in central Washington prompts evacuations
Jul 11, 2023, 3:59 PM | Updated: 5:36 pm
(Image courtesy of KIRO 7)
Authorities in central Washington told some people to leave their homes immediately as a new, growing wildfire sparked west of Quincy on Monday afternoon.
The Grant County Sheriff’s Office issued the evacuation notices for areas near the unincorporated community of Trinidad and the resort area of Crescent Bar.
But as of noon, all Level 3 evacuations were downgraded to Level 2, KREM in Spokane reported. Those locations include: Road 12 Northwest and Road West Northwest near Quincy; Road 11.2 Northwest and Road U Northwest near Trinidad and Crescent; Crescent Bar Road; Stuhmiller Road and Freese Road. Other Level 2 evacuations include Mansfield Road, Elk View Drive, Basalt Drive, Basalt View Drive, Desert Rose Place and Columbia View Road.
Washington Smoke Information notes that Level 3 evacauations indicate, “The threat to the area is current or imminent, and immediate evacuation is required.” In Level 2 evacuations, “Residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready at a moment’s notice.” A Level 1 Evacuation, “advises residents that danger exists in their area.” It adds, “You should monitor local media outlets for information.”
Washington’s Fire Marshal’s Office said in the evening said that state mobilization had been authorized for the the Baird Springs Fire, which started at about 2:30 p.m., Monday and had burned about 1.4 square miles of terrain containing sage brush and crops. It was also threatening homes, orchards and a processing warehouse.
It was moving south, and State Route 28, which was closed previously, reopened after being closed for hours, KREM said. Crews cut the power to the area early Tuesday morning so crews were able to make repairs.
An American Red Cross shelter was opening in Quincy.
Additional recent fire information
In southwest Washington, officials said, the Tunnel 5 Fire, which started July 2 in the Columbia River Gorge, was mostly contained on Monday and all evacuation orders were lifted. Lower temperatures and increased humidity over the weekend helped firefighters reach 80% containment.
The fire has burned nearly a square mile and damaged about 10 structures. Evacuation orders affected about 1,000 residents last week.
Fire crews will continue to patrol the area as warmer temperatures and higher winds return in the next week and the fire continues to burn in some places, officials said. Smoke will still be visible.
Last year, Washington experienced one of its mildest wildfire seasons in a decade, and officials have put people on alert for what could be one of its busiest in 2023. The state Department of Ecology issued a statewide drought advisory last week.
“Our warm weather arrived a few weeks early this year and really kicked the runoff into overdrive,” said Jeff Marti, water resources planner for the Department of Ecology.
State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz has said the landscape is dry and just one spark can can erupt into a conflagration.
“This fire season is already highly explosive, and I am so grateful for these men and women who are giving it their all to keep us safe in these dry, hot conditions,” Franz said last week on Twitter.
Contributing: L.B. Gilbert, Steve Coogan, The Associated Press