Rural fire chiefs keeping residents informed

first_imgClark County’s rural fire chiefs have been fielding hundreds of calls over the past week from residents concerned about the Eagle Creek Fire.One question is on everybody’s mind, and with good reason: Should I evacuate?Fortunately for Clark County, the answer seems to be no, although there’s plenty of reason to stay alert.“There are no evacuations in Washougal or in Clark County,” said Fire Chief Nick Swinhart of East County Fire & Rescue.Even so, Swinhart, who is also chief of the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, stressed that Clark County, particularly its eastern edge, “is under extreme fire danger right now.” Swinhart advised that east county residents seek out the Skamania County Sheriff’s website and Facebook page for up to date information regarding the fire and evacuations.“Most of the people that have been calling, unfortunately, have been concerned about incorrect information or rumors,” Swinhart said.Fire Chief Steve Wrightson of Fire District 3 said that much of the confusion surrounding evacuations stems from the presence of two identically named mountains on both sides of the Columbia River. An evacuation notice has been issued for Larch Mountain in Oregon, but not Larch Mountain in Washington, which sits at the eastern edge of Clark County.“There’s bits and pieces of information that go out, and people just hear parts of it,” Wrightson said.Fire District 3 encompasses about 84 square miles and is responsible for roughly 40,000 people. The Camas-Washougal Fire Department protects about 40,000 people, while East County Fire and Rescue serves more than 50,000.Despite the high fire risk, Wrightson said that Clark County had no active fires at the moment and was not threatened by the fires in the Gorge or in Skamania County.last_img

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