YACOLT, Wash. — People incarcerated at the Larch Corrections Center in Clark County were evacuated as the Nakia Creek Fire burning nearby expanded in size Sunday afternoon.
The fire broke containment lines on Sunday and prompted officials to quickly issue new Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation notices to thousands of homes.
The Larch Corrections Center is about five miles from where the fire is burning north of Camas, Washington. The Washington State Department of Corrections said incarcerated people from the center were safely evacuated to temporary housing at other facilities and asked for patience from those trying to contact them as they got settled. The Larch Corrections Center has a capacity of 240 male inmates, but it is unclear how many were currently housed at the facility at the time of the evacuation.
In total, about 2,903 homes were under Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation orders on Sunday night, according to Clark Regional Emergency Services (CRESA). CRESA said late Monday morning those evacuation orders are shrinking.
The Washougal School District canceled all classes on Monday to help those forced to evacuate do so safely. Two schools in the Washougal School District – Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle School – are in mandatory evacuation zones. Mt. Pleasant School also canceled classes Monday to support families who need to evacuate.
National Weather Service officials had issued weekend red flag warnings for parts of Oregon and Washington because of east winds and low humidity contributing to critical fire weather conditions.
The Nakia Creek Fire started on Sunday, Oct. 9 and is believed to have been "human-caused" as there was no lightning when the fire broke out. Officials are still trying to determine exactly how the flames sparked. The Clark County Fire Marshal's Office said it's looking for a vehicle of interest in connection to that investigation seen on video on a ridge near where the fire is burning on the day it started.