Firefighters rejoice over rain's return

Firefighters rejoice over rain's return

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by Wayne Havrelly

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kgw.com

Posted on October 12, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 8:15 PM

PORTLAND - When the rain started falling Friday morning, fire investigators were taking snapshots of a partially-burned cigarette just off Highway 14 near Washougal. 

It may have ignited last weeks fire at the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

The 140 acre fire was highly unusual. 

"In some ways I think people under estimated the threat," said East Clark County Fire Chief Scott Koehler. "We would normally never see a wildfire this large in this suburban area, it's something we would see in eastern Washington."

Koehler has been helping the state crews fight fires in Eastern Washington all fire season.  Experience gained by local crews fighting those large fires came in handy at last week's fire in Washougal. 

They were able to contain it before it burned into the Port of Camas and Washougal.

Medical calls have also been way up because of the smokey air.  Many residents at Columbia Ridge Senior Living in Washougal have been suffering from the smoke.

"Sneezing and coughing, all you want to do is sleep, it's been miserable," said 85-year-old Fran Chaney. 

The return of the rain should clean up the air in a hurry.

However, it's not just the rain that's returning. A large hawk soared over the refuge in Washougal that may be blackened, but is already recovering thanks to the return of the rain.

   

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