LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. — Lewis County Emergency Management has reduced the evacuation notice from level 3 — meaning leave now — to level 2 for the Timberline community south of Highway 12 in Lewis County, meaning residents should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
Packwood, Goat Rocks, High Valley, and the Timberline community north of Highway 12 are under a level 1 evacuation notice, meaning residents should be aware of the danger and start preparing to leave.
The Goat Rocks Fire, located about 1.5 miles northeast of Packwood, has grown to about 2,228 acres as of Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The Washington State Department of Transportation had closed Highway 12 in both directions between milepost 131.4 near Skate Creek Road and milepost 151 near White Pass Summit, but the roadway has since reopened, along with State Route 123.
The U.S. Forest Service said the wildfire was started by a lightning strike. Because of the conditions, action toward controlling the fire has been limited.
“Another thing that was playing an impact on us is that with how high the winds were, a lot of our helicopters weren’t able to really get access to those lakes and ponds that they could normally dip out of,” said Adam Turner, the public information officer for the Goat Rocks Fire.
“Because the winds were so high, that if they were to drop into those areas, that … you talk about helicopter crashes and suddenly, things can go wrong,” Turner said.
While it is a scary situation, many are happy with the response by emergency crews.
“I’m impressed with how efficient they are about everything,” one resident told KIRO 7.
“The more fires that are out there, the less resources that are available. Anything that people can do to help lower the number of starts is always important,” Turner said.
Those who are at White Pass School will be fed by the Salvation Army, including first responders.
A red flag warning was in effect through 7 p.m. Sunday as continued high temperatures and low humidity persisted in the area throughout the day.
A stronger onshore flow is projected for Sunday evening, bringing higher humidity, lower temperatures and a slight chance of some rain, providing an opportunity for fire crews to begin getting a handle on controlling the flames, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
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