The Colockum Tarps fire just got a lot more complicated for Washington state firefighters.
The wildfire tearing through the Washington countryside since late July was compounded on Friday when a lightning storm sparked a new fire adjacent to the existing Colockum Tarps fire. That new fire, called the Mile Marker 10 fire, quickly grew to cover 5,000 acres and threaten hundreds of homes in Washington state
Several fire departments have been mobilized and state resources were added on Saturday afternoon. Mobilization specialists from the state’s Fire Protection Bureau ordered seven wildland strike team to aid the firefighters already working to control the blaze.
Firefighters said the Colockum Tarps fire is burning mostly through sage and brush and has not yet burned down any trees. It has been burning for the last two weeks.
Crews have been focusing on the Mile Marker 10 fire over the weekend, making aerial water drops in an attempt to keep it under control.
“It’s burning so quickly, moving really rapidly through grass and sage,” says public information officer Cindy Bork. “You can’t put firefighters on the ground in front of something like that.”
Crews working on the Colockum Tarps fire were moved to take on the new wildfire, which led to an evacuation of close to 80 homes.
“There’s a lot of homes northwest of the fire,” Bork said. “It’s burning up to this steep rim rock. It’s our hope we can keep it from moving down through some of the scrub and some of the sage.”
It has been a difficult summer in Washington for wildfires. In July another fire, the Satus Pass fire, grew to cover 4,000 acres and threaten a number of homes.
But firefighters on both the Colockum Tarps fire and the Mile Marker 10 fire did get a bit of help. A storm moved through on Saturday night, bringing some much-needed rain.