YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - Flames are picking up and spreading in Washington, with one destructive wildfire causing the most severe damage in years.
The Evans Canyon Fire as of Wednesday has forced hundreds of evacuations in Yakima County.
Mary Bean, the lead public information officer for the Northwest Incident Management Team, said satellites measured approximately 12,900 acres damaged by fire on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the measurement grew to approximately 30,000 acres damaged including five homes and several outbuildings. Bean explained high winds gusts caused the fire to spread quickly.
One by one, helicopters flew over billows of smoke from a raging brush fire south of Naches near Wenas Road.
“Right back there was a lot smokier and now it’s not too bad. So, it looks like they’ve been hitting something back in there,” said Rodney Miles, while pointing to a helicopter. “And he just got through unloading something—a load of water or something.”
Miles has been watching the flames grow since Tuesday.
“It was a little scarier at night when you just see the flames and it’s kind of eerie,” said Miles.
Miles said he feels safe right now, but has his bags packed just in case.
“I think it’s wise to be ready in case something comes up,” said Miles.
The Yakima County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team is blocking as many people as possible from going into evacuation areas.
Rebecca Miles, Rodney’s granddaughter who lives nearby, said she noticed the large exit of neighbors started Tuesday.
“We don’t usually have much traffic out here but there’s just been cars going up and down north and south Wenas evacuating, helping friends and family evacuate, horse trailers going up and down. And so, it’s been hectic out here and lots of helicopters going around,” said Miles.
More helicopters are on the way to drop flame retardants in the area. Miles said there is a lot of green pasture outside her home, so her family isn’t too worried right now, though they are under mandatory evacuation orders. She said if the brush fire spreads a bit closer to their home, they have a plan in place to get themselves and their livestock to safety.
“We have alpacas and horses and chickens and dogs and all that stuff. So, we’d have to just be prepared. We have family and friends ready to come help us if we need to evacuate,” she said.
Bean said, fortunately, no one there are no reports of injuries so far. Roughly 300 firefighters are working to put out the flames.