Though it may take a fire-season-ending amount of rain to completely put out the Goat Rocks Fire 1.5 miles northeast of Packwood, cooler temperatures and higher humidity in East Lewis County’s mountain communities has helped keep the blaze under control over the last week.
On Monday morning, the fire had scorched 3,338 acres and was 0% contained with 296 people working to fight it.
During the weekend of Sept. 10, dry, windy weather caused the fire to grow from less than 80 acres to over 2,500, prompting Lewis County emergency management to release level three, “go” evacuation notices for the Timberline, Goat Rocks and High Valley neighborhoods along with a level two, “get set” order for Packwood proper. Over 500 residences required evacuation.
As the weather turned more favorable for firefighting efforts late that weekend, residents were allowed to return home.
On Sunday, Packwood and High Valley had evacuation orders lifted completely. Areas northeast of Butter Creek and north of U.S. Highway 12, including lower Timberline and Goat Rocks are still under a level one, “get ready” notice as upper Timberline, south of the highway, remains at a level two.
Warmer, drier weather is expected early this week, potentially increasing the chance for fire growth.
According to a news release from teams on the fire, firefighters are well-provisioned and are not seeking donations of any kind. Community members seeking to make donations are encouraged to send them to a local Red Cross, Lewis County Fire District #10 in Packwood or the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
Campfire bans and other use restrictions are in place across the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and much of the region. Campfires are allowed within certain campgrounds on an approved list at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/giffordpinchot/alerts-notices.
To receive alerts from Lewis County in the case of an emergency, sign up for Lewis County Alert at https://lewiscountywa.gov/departments/emergency-management/lewis-county-alert/.