Families scramble to avoid wildfire danger amid evacuation orders

The fast-growing Bolt Creek Fire prompted several unexpected evacuation notices for families from Index to Skykomish on Saturday.

KIRO 7′s Gwen Baumgardner spoke with some of those families who were on their way out of town as they made last-minute stops at the Gold Bar Family Grocer.

For David Gray and John Van Dyke, the evacuation orders created a sense of urgency and uncertainty.

“One of our neighbors came and pounded on the door and said we were ordered to evacuate,” Gray said. “So then things kind of went into stressful mode.”

“Oh, I’m stressed out, yeah,” Van Dyke said. “I told him, I said, ‘My anxiety is pretty high.’”

With just themselves and a few belongings, the two jumped in the car and drove northwest, leaving the town of Baring behind. They made a stop at the grocery store for supplies as ash fell from the sky.

“With all the smoke up there, you could hardly breathe. You could tell it was close by,” said Van Dyke.

Thousands followed suit when evacuation orders officially went into effect. For some, it meant a minor change of plans. For others, like Adam Wixarchek, a sense of security.

“The smoke came on pretty heavy this morning, and we’ve got a little 10-month-old inside, so we decided to leave just for the smoke,” Wixarchek said. “It’s kind of a good reality check. What’s important, what do we need, what does baby need, what are some important family heirlooms just in case?”

An uneasy reminder of how quickly things can escalate during wildfire season.