CLARK COUNTY, Wash. – Residents return home after evacuation orders are lifted while the Nakia Creek Fire burns in Washington state.
Firefighters said they made good headway, constructing fire lines to help increase containment levels to 23% as of Thursday evening. The size of the fire has slightly grown to 1,918 acres, an increase of 49 acres since Wednesday morning, the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency said.
The fire was first reported at about 3:45 p.m. on Oct. 9 and has been determined to be human-caused.
Authorities still ask for the public’s help in identifying persons and vehicles of interest. A video was taken about 15 minutes prior on a ridge near where the fire was burning, the Clark County Fire Marshal's Office said.
"We are looking for what we believe is a white or light-colored Subaru vehicle," Assistant Clark County Fire Marshal Curtis Eavenson said. "Based on witness statements, we also believe there were two men and two women connected with this vehicle."
If anyone recognizes the vehicle or people depicted in the video or has any information regarding the ongoing wildfire investigation, they are urged to contact the county’s fire marshal office at 564-397-3320.
Over 550 resources have been working to contain and extinguish the fire.
Measurable precipitation is expected beginning Friday afternoon to help minimize fire growth and allowing firefighters to gain ground, fire officials said.
"Rain after a wildland fire brings its own risks," the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency said in a Facebook post Thursday. "Rain can cause burnt standing trees to fall, soil instability on steep slopes, and damage to roads. Crews will proceed with caution while working in these conditions."
'We are definitely on alert'
Evacuation restrictions were reduced in some areas on Wednesday for the thousands of people forced to flee their homes because of the fire.
"We are definitely on alert," one homeowner said. "But I think the protocol is to stay in your homes, don't panic, keep a bag ready in case there's a sudden change."
As of Sunday night, nearly 3,000 homes were included in the "Level 3 Go Now" notice, with more than 33,000 others told to make preparations in case an evacuation order is given.
Evacuation levels from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office are evaluated daily. Residents can click here to search their address for current evacuation levels.
The Nakia Creek Fire isn't the only fire burning in the West and Northwest. Dozens of fires are burning across the region, and that's sending thick plumes of smoke into cities and towns in places like Washington, Oregon and Idaho. And because of the smoke, that's causing some concerns with air quality.
Air quality alerts have been issued across western and northern Washington, western Oregon, northern and central Idaho and northwestern Montana. Air quality measurements reached "unhealthy" levels in parts of the Puget Sound region over the weekend.
The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center doesn't expect to gain full containment until Halloween.