A fire that was discovered late Monday morning near the summit of White Pass has doubled in size as of Wednesday morning, now burning approximately 100 acres.
The Cold Creek fire is located approximately 30 miles west of Yakima and 6 miles east of the White Pass summit, according to Inciweb, a national incident information database, and is not anticipated to be contained until Saturday.
According to Ben Shearer, public information officer for the Southeast Interagency Emergency Management Team, the fire is scheduled to be contained by Saturday for now, provided the weather holds and the resources they requested show up.
But weather played into the hand of the fire as it continued to grow over Tuesday night, Shearer said.
“We did have some pretty serious fire growth overnight with the temperature change and the cool, it pushed it up the hill into the wilderness a little bit more than we were hoping,” Shearer said.
Shearer added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if that containment date changes, that’s one of the things they will be discussing today.”
Shearer also noted that while the fire is heading northwest, it isn’t moving very fast, compared to other fires around the West Coast.
“It is just kind of creeping along,” said Shearer.
The Southwest Interagency Emergency Management Team estimates that 70 structures are considered to be in harm's way of the fire, though Shearer noted it is mostly precautionary at this point and no structures have been affected by the fire yet.
At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, a level 2 “be set” evacuation notice was issued to the encompassing area of Clear Lake and Rimrock Lake as well as areas on both sides of U.S. Highway 12.
Currently, there are fire personnel from 10 different agencies and contractors, said Shearer, with 85 people fighting the fire in total.
According to Inciweb, the fire was reportedly discovered at around 8:30 p.m. on Monday and closed down both directions of traffic on Highway 12 the following morning.
The Cold Creek fire was initially estimated to be 50 acres, burning in “steep, timbered terrain,” but by 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday it had stretched to 96 acres.
Since Tuesday morning, a long strip of Highway 12 has been closed off, blocking those from Yakima County heading to Lewis County, and blocking those from Lewis County heading to Yakima County.
For eastbound traffic on Highway 12, the roadway is stopped near milepost 138 at the turn off for state Route 123. For westbound traffic, the road is cut off at milepost 183.
As of Wednesday morning, Highway 12 is still closed and only people who live in the area being evacuated are allowed past the marked off points.
To stay up to date on the Cold Creek fire or any of the fires along the West Coast, visit: inciweb.nwcg.gov.