220 Jewett Blvd, PO Box 218, White Salmon, WA 98672 | 509.493.2112
Cascade Creek wildfire rages on Mt. Adams, exceeds acreage of HWY. 141 fires
Started by lightening
September 11, 2012
By BEN MITCHELLAs over 600 firefighters worked to get the Hwy. 141 fire under control outside of White Salmon, another local wildfire started -- this time sparked by a lightning strike that occurred late Saturday.
Referred to as the Cascade Creek Fire, the new blaze is burning on the southwestern slope of Mt. Adams in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, approximately nine miles north of Trout Lake. The strike was from a lightning storm that passed over the Cascades and is blamed for starting over 100 wildfires in Washington.
Ken Sandusky, an information officer for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, reported Monday morning that the fire had grown to "well over 1,000 acres" and was pushed Sunday morning to the east by high, westerly winds. Forty hikers in the Mt. Adams Wilderness had to be evacuated and four hikers were forced to be airlifted by helicopter.
Hikers' vehicles became trapped when flames crossed Forest Service Road 8040 after the evacuations, with vehicles being left at the Cold Springs, Morrison and Croften Ridge West trailheads. Sandusky reported over 50 trees were down across the roadway, blocking the vehicles. As of press time, it was planned for owners to be escorted to their cars if conditions permitted.
By late Monday morning, fire operations were assumed by Washington Incident Management Team No. 3 under Commander Dave La Fave. Three helicopters were working to put out the flames with water drops and were aided by over 200 firefighters on the ground. Dale Warriner, information officer for WIMT No.3, stated that "good work" was done Monday and "quite a lot of trail was completed" for the construction of firelines.
Even so, the fire was 0 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon and had grown to 1,767 acres despite the efforts of 269 firefighters. More hand crews were expected to arrive Tuesday afternoon to the fire camp set up at the Trout Lake School. The fire area is primarily timber, although Warriner mentioned that the historic Gotchen Creek Guard Station lies about 1.5 southeast of the fire area. He said the recently restored cabin would be wrapped in foil as a precaution in case the blaze came the building's way.
On Tuesday morning, WIMT No. 3 issued an area closure for roads and lands surrounding the fire. That and other information can be found at Incident Information System Web site at www.inciweb.org/incident/3249
Eastward movement of the fire would likely be arrested by natural barriers of the Aiken Lava Bed and the Cold Creek Burn of 2008. Still, Warriner noted that the fire area is filled with dead timber and the blaze has so far been difficult to get under control.
"It's a highly technical fire," he explained. "Lots of fuels, high winds, a lack of roads, tough terrain. It's a challenge."