The Kalama fire in southeast Cowlitz County continues to burn with the latest estimates placing it at 224 acres as of press deadline.
In its Sept. 18 update, the U.S. Forest Service reported the fire has been 5% contained. The fire was first discovered on Aug. 31 and has been burning southeast of the Kalama Horse Camp in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest south of Mount St. Helens.
After growing to more than 100 acres at the start of last week, better mapping showed the fire to be at 208 acres as of Sept. 15. That total increased to 224 acres by the end of the week.
The Forest Service removed its highest-level evacuation notices on Sept. 13. Firefighters had favorable weather for containment efforts throughout the week including traces of rain Friday night.
The Kalama fire began on a cliff face and is now located on extremely steep ground, the Forest Service reports. Firefighters have been preparing indirect fire lines on more favorable ground for successful containment.
“The potential for fire growth remains, but containment lines are being put in place and contain percentage information will be updated when the lines are complete and holding,” the Forest Service reported.
Sunday’s weather was predicted to be mostly dry over the burn area with variable winds, according to the Forest Service. Warm, dry weather fitting the season was expected over the next few days.
As of press deadline, the evacuation levels and areas were as follows:
A Level 2, “be set” notification remained from north to south from the headwaters of the south fork of the Toutle River, south to Forest Road 7550; and from east to west from the Skamania County and Cowlitz County border west 5 miles into Cowlitz County.
A Level 1, “be ready” evacuation notice remained in place from north to south, south from Forest Road 7550 to south of Merrill Lake; and from east to west from the Skamania County and Cowlitz County border west 5 miles into Cowlitz County.
A cause of the Kalama fire is still under investigation.
The Kalama fire is one of two fires in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest currently burning. As of press deadline, the Goat Rocks Fire in east Lewis County had 3,280 acres involved and was 0% contained.
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