Nakia Creek Fire explodes amid powerful winds, forcing thousands of evacuations in Washington State
A house destroyed by a wildfire burns in Kalk country in northeastern Washington on Friday, Oct. 1, 2019. Kalk country west of N. C. is home to large stretches of the National Forest. Photo courtesy of Dave McPhail
Nakia Creek Fire in Washington state shows no signs of slowing Friday night, but firefighters are hopeful to contain the blaze, which has destroyed more than 1,400 homes and forced more than 1,000 people to flee their homes, the Washington State Department of Transportation said.
Fire Department spokesman Matt Jones said the fire had burned more than 1,400 acres, which is about 10 square miles. No injuries or structural damage were reported.
Jones said crews are working to get an assessment of the fire to determine if it is safe for residents to return to their homes.
The Nakia Creek Fire was reported at 9:21 p.m. Friday near the town of Nespelem, about 20 miles southeast of Seattle. The blaze is burning along Nakia Creek, which flows into the Nespelem River, and is a factor in the area’s large population of grizzled, wind-burned Western red cedar trees.
According to the United States Forest Service, there are more than 11,300 private residences on the forest land of the Nespelem-Barker Wilderness Area, which is part of the Okanagan-Shuswap National Forest. More than 2,700 homes in the area were destroyed, according to the department.
Fierce winds on and around Nespelem are gusting as high as 90 miles per hour. In Nespelem, people were advised to shelter from the raging fire and evacuate.
In neighboring King County, the King Fire was reported Friday at 5:50 p.m. The blaze was reported on state forest lands along the north end of Lake Chelan.
The fire was burning in the northern part of the county, about 10 miles south of Lake Chelan. There were no injuries or damage reported.
The region was under a red flag warning, meaning gusty winds can blow embers and sparks in all directions.