2018 Washington wildfires
|2018 Washington wildfires|
Fire crew at the Little Camas Fire, July 9
Statewide state of emergency: July 31, 2018
Training and preparedness
State level planning for the fire season began at least as early as January, 2018.
A 20-year Washington Wildland Fire Protection Strategic Plan under development during the first half of the year was to be released by the Department of Natural Resources to the public in July, 2018.
In June, three firefighting helicopters were staged in Western Washington by the Department of Natural Resources for the first time, prompted by a low 2017 fire season west of the Cascades followed by a dry month of May 2018 causing an abundance of dry fuel, and other weather considerations.
The season predictions issued in May cited drier than average weather conditions and low snow pack in Oregon, but in Washington conditions appeared to be near normal. The water year began October 1, 2017, and by May 1, indicated normal precipitation in the state, but according to National Interagency Fire Center, models that also include Pacific-scale El Niño–Southern Oscillation effects showed high chance of below-normal precipitation and higher-than-normal temperatures through July; these factors led to a prediction of above-normal wildfire risk for the entirety of Eastern Washington through August 2018. Climate scientists said in July that the Palmer Drought Severity Index showed Western Washington to be significantly drier than normal, adding to fire risk there.
Fires and smoke
On May 22, a controlled burn initiated by a local resident went wild and burned 300 acres near the Yakima Training Center. An Army helicopter crew was credited with saving homes near Selah by dumping water.
The Ryegrass Coulee Fire on July 9–10 burned 1,600 acres, closed 20 miles of Interstate 90 in both directions for most of a day, and forced the complete evacuation of Vantage, Washington. It was the first of the state's fire season to trigger a level three evacuation or a road closure. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released funds, saying that "the fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster".
The Little Camas Fire at Leavenworth, Washington, started on July 5 and reached over 300 acres. It caused the evacuation of a bible camp. Over 440 firefighters and three helicopters were sent to contain it., in the Cascades south of
Smoke conditions in mid July were judged as good, in contrast to the 2017 season which had Seattle blanketed in smoke and ash around the same time due to fires in British Columbia, Eastern Washington and Oregon.
The Rocky Reach Fire at , near Wenatchee, started on Friday, July 13 and reached over 3,386 acres (1,370 ha) before being contained.
The Boylston Fire started on July 19 again shut down I-90 east of Ellensburg for 24 hours. It burned 80,000 acres, mostly on the Yakima Training Center, caused level three "leave now" evacuations, and destroyed five buildings while being fought by three fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters. Military personnel and equipment to fight the fire were sent from Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane and Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the Puget Sound Area. The smoke caused "unhealthy" air conditions in Spokane on July 20.
The Upriver Beacon Fire in Spokane County, on the Spokane city/county border at  caused the evacuation of 800 homes and evacuation warnings for thousands more on July 18. It burned 120 acres (49 ha) before being contained. Nearly all local fire agencies including cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley and Spokane County, and out-of-area fire aircraft, responded.,
Smoke from fires in Siberia was visible over southern British Columbia in late July and was assessed to be a possible health impact to Washington residents. On July 29, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency stated the Puget Sound region would experience "moderate air quality at times with some upper level smoke making for pretty sunsets. This smoke comes from distant fires, mostly originating from Siberia." On July 30, University of Washington meteorology professor Cliff Mass noted the progressively more smoky situation in Seattle from Siberian wildfires, and said a "smoke front" from California's Carr Fire would arrive before sunset.
The Milepost 90 Fire in the Columbia Gorge near Wishram, Washington started on July 31 and reached over 11,000 acres (4,500 ha) by August 1. Level 2 and level 3 evacuation orders were issued near Wishram. Almost 20 miles of State Route 14 were closed in both directions. On August 3, it burned 14,500 acres (5,900 ha) and 85% contained.
Crescent Mountain and Gilbert Fires at smokejumpers sent in to the rough terrain. Hikers and campers were told to leave. Crescent Mountain Fire increased to 7,671 acres (3,104 ha) by August 5. It was controlled as of October 22 2018 and burned a total 52,000 acres.near Twisp began with lightning on July 29 and grew quickly to over 100 acres (40 ha) by August 1, driven by evening downslope wind. Four helicopters and other equipment were assigned and
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An infrared thermography-capable RC-26 surveillance aircraft and support crew from Washington Air National Guard were deployed in support of the National Interagency Fire Center for the third year in a row.
The Governor's July 31 state of emergency declaration allowed the Washington National Guard to be deployed; two Blackhawk helicopters at Fairchild Air Force Base were quickly allocated to firefighting.
- Washington governor declares wildfire state of emergency – Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed an emergency proclamation Tuesday for all 39 counties for the threat of wildfire., Associated Press, July 31, 2018 – via KGW
- Hilary Franz (February 3, 2018), "Getting an early jump on fire season", Ear to the Ground (blog), Washington State Department of Natural Resources
- Emily Schwing (March 20, 2018), Spring Is In The Air, And With It The 2018 Northwest Wildfire Season, Northwest Public Broadcasting
- Washington's Summer Fire Rules Officially Begin Sunday, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, April 13, 2018
- by Khalyn King (May 16, 2018), Firefighter students prepare for upcoming wildfire season in Central Washington, Yakima: KIMA-TV
- Jackson Hogan (May 4, 2018), "DNR scientist warns of massive Western Washington fire in future", The Daily News, Longview, Washington
- There was a 'categorical shift' in Western Washington wildfire season, KIRO radio / MyNorthwest.com, June 6, 2018
- Aaron Kunkler (June 14, 2018), "Western Washington Could See More Wildfires This Year – Lots of grass and warmer weather could make for worsening fire seasons.", Seattle Weekly
- Emily Schwing (March 21, 2018), Forecasters Say Oregon's Wildfire Season Could Be Record-Setting, Northwest News Network – via Oregon Public Broadcasting
- Climate and Significant Fire Potential Outlook (Video), Northwest Interagency Coordination Center/National Interagency Fire Center, May 1, 2018
- "Far Less Smoke over the Northwest Than Last Year". Cliff Mass weather blog. July 12, 2018.
- Haley Rush (April 24, 2018), Washington wildfire sparks on warmest day of the year so far, KPTV
- Donald W. Meyers (May 23, 2018), "Brush fire near Selah deemed accidental as 14 vehicles destroyed", Yakima Herald
- Ashley, Morgan (June 12, 2018). "Evacuation orders in place for residents near Soap Lake for growing fire". NBC 23 News. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- Jonathan Glover (July 10, 2018), "I-90 reopened in both directions; Vantage still evacuated after wildfire near Columbia River burns brush and grass", Spokesman-Review, Spokane
- Christine Clarridge (July 10, 2018), "Eastern Washington brush fire prompts federal help, warns of heavy wildfire season", The Seattle Times, updated July 11
- FEMA Provides Federal Funds to Help Fight the Ryegrass Coulee Fire (press release), Federal Emergency Management Agency, July 10, 2018, Press release NR-18-10
- "Little Camas Fire", InciWeb, US Forest Service, retrieved July 10, 2018
- Elena Gardner (July 9, 2018), Over 400 firefighters working to contain Little Camas Fire, Spokane: KXLY
- Elena Gardner (July 13, 2018), Vulcan Mountain Fire burning 20 acres in Ferry County, Spokane: KXLY
- Vulcan mountain fire update, Ferry County Sheriff's Office, July 13, 2018 – via Facebook
- Rocky Reach Fire, US Forest Service InciWeb, accessed 2018-07-23
- KARL HOLAPPA, "Boylston Fire now estimated at 80,000 acres.", Daily Record, Ellensburg
- "Wildfire closes I-90 east of Ellensburg", The Seattle Times, July 20, 2018
- Eastbound I-90 near Kittitas reopens nearly 24 hours after closure due to brush fire, KCPQ TV News, July 19, 2018
- "Wildfire burning 70,000 acres closes I-90 near Vantage; Spokane wakes up to smoky skies", Spokesman-Review, Spokane, July 20, 2018
- Upriver Beacon Fire, US Forest Service InciWeb, accessed 2018-07-24
- "Nearly 800 homes evacuated as wildfire engulfs home north of Upriver Drive", Spokesman-Review, Spokane, July 18, 2018
- "Cougar Creek Fire", InciWeb, US Forest Service, retrieved August 1, 2018
- Mikaila Wilkerson (July 29, 2018), "Cougar Creek Fire reported 20 miles northwest of Entiat", The Wenatchee World
- Smoke to south, smoke to the north, smoke to the east and then some ozone, Washington smoke blog, July 25, 2018 (Washington Ecology with county, state, and Federal agencies and Indian tribes)
- Air Quality Forecast Discussion for July 29–Aug 3, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, July 29, 2018, archived from the original on July 29, 2018, retrieved July 29, 2018
- Cliff Mass (July 30, 2018), "Smoke Reaches Western Washington", Cliff Mass weather blog
- "Miriam Fire", InciWeb, US Forest Service, retrieved August 1, 2018
- The Latest: about 400 campers evacuate Washington wildfire, Associated Press, August 1, 2018 – via Fox News
- Shane Dixon Kavanaugh (August 1, 2018), "Columbia River Gorge fire grows to 11,000 acres overnight, prompts evacuations", The Oregonian
- "Traffic alerts - SR 14 Both Directions", Official website, Washington State Department of Transportation, retrieved August 1, 2018
- 14,500-acre Milepost 90 Fire is now 85 percent contained, KATU-TV, August 3, 2018
- Ann McCreary (August 1, 2018), "Crescent and Gilbert fires expected to merge", Methow Valley News
- "Crescent Mountain Fire", InciWeb, US Forest Service, retrieved August 5, 2018
- "Crescent Mountain Fire", InciWeb, US Forest Service, retrieved March 20, 2019
- WA keeps accumulating smoke through Thursday Washington Smoke Blog, August 7, 2018 (Department of Ecology et al.)
- Washington State DNR [@waDNR_fire] (August 6, 2018). "#WaWILDFIRE UPDATE - #MapleFire outside #HammaHamma @olympicforest is 70 acres with 5% containment" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Tom Banse (July 31, 2018), Military Reconnaissance Plane Enlisted In Northwest Wildfire Fight, northwest Public Broadcasting
- Governor declares state of emergency, National Guard utilized for Washington wildfires, Spokane: KHQ-TV, July 31, 2018
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