Help streams in to fight Norse Peak Fire with a little assist from the weather
ENUMCLAW, Wash. -- The change in the weather is helping in the battle against the wild fires in our state, but not by much. The Norse Peak fire has consumed more than 45,000 acres northeast of Mount. Rainier, and the newer Sawmill Creek Fire has burned just under 1,000 acres northeast of Greenwater.
A new fire camp has sprung up at the Enumclaw fairgrounds to deal with the Sawmill Creek Fire while cabin owners near Crystal Mountain are dealing with an urgent evacuation from the Norse Peak Fire.
It's a rush against time for dozens of families who are being given only a few minutes to evacuate their cabins. One near Crystal has been in the family for a century. "It's just really devastating," said Natalia Amirfalz. "You don't know what's going to happen. You don't know if it's going to burn. You just don't know. It's really scary."
Fire crews are streaming in from all over the Northwest to help digging protective lines around the homes.
Amirfaiz said, fighting back tears, "Glad a lot of people got to enjoy it and just hope more people get to enjoy it and it stays safe."
The inversion layer that's been causing the heavy smoke is actually helping with both fires. Ben Shearer of the Sawmill Creek Fire explained, that "having that inversion keeps the fire inactive pretty much. It doesn't give it a chance to really grow and expand."
It also doesn't give helicopter crews a chance to make aerial water drops because of poor visibility. Some residents are asking why the new huge supertanker isn't brought in with its massive amounts of fire retardant. But fire crews say it wouldn't help in this terrain with dense trees.
"You drop it on these really thick trees it's just going to coat the top of the trees and the fire is going to continue to burn along the bottom," said Melanie Banton of the Norse Peak Fire.
Banton is part of the fire-management team that flew in from Florida. They've now been released to go back home to get ready for Hurricane Irma, which affects them personally. , "Yes,, I am worried. But I think it's a worry that sticks in the back of your mind. If you're from Florida, you're used to hurricanes."
That team of 40 people is flying back to Florida on Friday not know what the hurricane will bring. Meantime a fire command team from California is due to replace them to help with the fires that are burning in the hills east of Enumclaw. So far no one hurt and no buildings burned.