PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Here are the latest updates surrounding the Big Hollow Fire burning in Southwest Washington:
Big Hollow Fire 15% contained, several closures remain in effect
Crews working to tackle the Big Hollow Fire in Southwest Washington have increased its containment to 15%, according to officials.
The focus Wednesday will be limiting a westerly spread. Crews will monitor fire in the Wind River drainage and reduce fuels as needed to stop fire spread. Additionally, crews will continue Tuesday’s work of burning a control line east of Road 64 and north of Road 201.
A Level 3 evacuation order remains in effect for Government Mineral Springs and there is still a Level 1 order for north and west of the fire, including Yale, Cougar, Northwoods and parts of Amboy and Yacolt.
Area closures include most developed campgrounds, dispersed camping, most forest roads and trails in southwest Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Closures for the Siouxon Block and Merrill Lake Natural Conservation Area also are in place.
The Big Hollow Fire is burning 15 miles northwest of Carson and seven miles southeast of Cougar, Washington. To date it has torched 22,153 acres of land.
Big Hollow Fire now 10% contained, over 20K acres
Tuesday, September 15
Officials working to contain the Big Hollow Fire in Southwest Washington said a reduction in the layer of smoke at higher elevations resulted in higher temperatures and drier weather over the weekend.
As of Monday morning, the fire grew to 20,805 acres and is now 10% contained.
Officials said that temperatures are expected to cool by a few degrees on Monday, with light winds expected from the southwest. Crews will continue their containment efforts along the 57 and 58 roads as well as constructing indirect containment lines and clear fuels north along the 1000 and
6000 roads in the Siouxon block.
The cabins at Government Mineral Springs are under a Level 3 evacuation order. Carson Fish Hatchery is not under an evacuation order.
Areas north and west of the fire are under a Level 1 evacuation order, including Yale, Cougar, Northwoods and portions of the towns of Amboy and Yacolt. The Forest Service has issued area closures in the SW portion of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that include most developed campgrounds, dispersed camping, and most forest roads and trails. The Department of Natural Resources has issued closures for the Siouxon Block and Merrill Lake Natural Conservation Area.
The Pacific Crest Trail is open.
While the fire did not expand exponentially over the weekend, thick smoke substantially decreased visibility for crews. Incident commander Jeff Dimke reported efforts to prepare cabins at Government Mineral Springs for fire protection have been enacted. Crews conducted firing operations along the 57 road to slow southward spreading — and structures near Yale Lake and Swift Reservoir were also assessed for risk.
Jim Courtney works as a store clerk at Chelatchie Prairie General Store near Yale Lake, about eight miles from the fire. He told KOIN 6 News the store is currently under a Level 2 evacuation order.
“The last few nights it’s just been a stream of cattle cars and horse trailers. We’ve had people from Oregon coming over to volunteer to move horses for people and move their homes,” Courtney said.
The store is located in a rural area near the small town of Amboy, Washington.
Courtney said he lives about four miles from the fire and he’s all packed to evacuate soon, possibly to relatives in Portland, Oregon.