Warm weather brings wildfires to area

Firefighters are still working to contain two large wildfires in Lewis and Thurston counties, according to the Department of Natural Resources. No houses are threatened by either fire, and the cause of both are still under investigation.

A shift in winds Monday, which have brought in cooler, more-humid air, has aided in firefighting efforts.

The Dog Mountain fire, near the eastern end of Riffe Lake in Lewis County, was reported early Saturday afternoon, according to DNR. By late Monday, the fire had burned an estimated 100 acres within a 170-acre forestland. As of late Monday, the fire was 50 percent contained.

About 80 people are working to suppress it using bulldozers, fire engines, as well as water-dropping helicopters, said Toni Droscher, DNR public information officer.

The fire is burning in an area that was recently logged and an 8-year-old forest plantation owned by the Port Blakely Tree Farms, according to DNR. The fire spread rapidly Saturday, due to dry, east winds. The steep terrain of the area makes firefighting efforts difficult.

The C-Line Fire, which is burning in the Capitol Forest approximately 8 miles northwest of Littlerock, has burned about 60 acres on state land that contained logging slash and 20-year-old trees, Droscher said.

About 80 people were working to suppress the fire Monday, and heavy equipment and helicopters were also being used, according to DNR. There were also other minor wildfires that were successfully contained over the weekend in the Lewis County area. A fire near High Valley Lane near Tenino was controlled after burning 9 acres on Sunday. Three other minor wildfires burned between Mossyrock and Salkum.

The first weekend in May is not typically a busy time for firefighters. Despite it being early in the wildfire season, the Department of Natural Resources is asking people who work or spend time near forestland to be extremely careful. They are asking everyone to fully extinguish all campfires, use vehicles and other equipment in good working order, and never burn debris while it’s windy.