Nakia Creek Fire explodes amid powerful winds, forcing thousands of evacuations in Washington State
The National Weather Service has issued a high fire weather warning for Wednesday for the Yakima Valley. There’s also a high fire weather warning for Thursday for the North Cascades.
More than 10,000 people were evacuated Tuesday night as the Niakuk Creek fire approached homes in Puyallup, Washington. But the winds calmed later Tuesday, and the fire, a dry grassland blaze, was contained. It was one of four fires burning in Washington state on Wednesday.
Here’s what you need to know.
What caused the fire?
The Niakuk Creek fire ignited Monday afternoon, near the home where it started, in Puyallup, about 30 miles southeast of Seattle.
Related: Puyallup wildfire kills two, burns more than 40 homes
The Niakuk Creek fire first came into view around 2:30 p.m. Monday after intense dry lightning storms forced its discovery, said Dan Smith, a spokesman for the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. But as the morning continued, the fire became more active in areas where the winds became strong, Smith said.
At around 10 a.m., fire crews were working to extinguish the fire near the home where it started, Smith said. A few hours later, the fire approached the neighborhood in the town of Puyallup, where about 4,800 residents remained, he added.
An intense wind, which moved in from the southwest around 2 p.m., dropped temperatures in Puyallup from the record high of 96 degrees to 77 degrees and then to 61, Smith said. The conditions made it impossible to contain the fire as the winds blew it to the northeast, he said.
The fire reached the town of Colville around 3 p.m. and was contained Tuesday.
Officials were still looking into the cause of the fire Tuesday, Smith