PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Evacuations for the Jenny Fire in La Center, Wash. have been downgraded, officials say, and residents can begin returning to their homes.
Crews have continued to gain control over the blaze that first started as a house fire and quickly spread. Since then, the Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation has been reduced to Level 2 “Be Set” for the area.
KOIN 6 News has learned from fire officials that the fire size is now at 32 acres with about 90% contained along the perimeter, but only about 30% controlled as much of it is still actively burning.
Officials say this week’s heat wave added to more dried-out brush and fuel in the area.
“The problem we ran into pretty quickly was it was well over 100 degrees yesterday and the winds. Those embers started to blow and cause spot fires into the woods and the grass,” said Jason Leavitt, Clark-Cowlitz Fire & Rescue battalion chief.
Crews from across SW Washington were quick to respond after the fire started just before 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The homeowners were not there at the time the fire broke out, and it remains unclear what originally started the blaze. The home and a barn structure on the property were destroyed. However, crews were able to save nearby structures that were threatened.
“We did have one house south of here that burned up to within five feet of the house,” Leavitt said.
Firefighters credit the efforts of neighbors with tractors and dozers who helped create containment lines and prevent it from spreading further.
“There were residents on the eastside with private owned tractors and dozers and such that really helped make a difference on that side of this fire,” Leavitt said.
For now, a full burn ban is in effect in Clark County including recreational fires.